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TEC140 or TMB130

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#1 dvb

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:22 PM

Last month I had a chance to use use a TEC140 on Saturn. Seeing was very wobbly, but the Cassini Division was clear at 75x (Ethos 13).

I was impressed enough to lose my mind and consider buying one. Cost, with rings and case, about $6,400.00 + shipping extra

But, then a CN buddy (you know who you are :shameonyou:) mentioned the TMB130, rings and case at $4,130.00, shipping included.

That's pretty significant difference in price (about $2,500).

Sure there are some differences - 10mm aperture, oil vs. air spaced, but, a the end of the night, is there a real visual or imaging difference?

#2 Peter in Reno

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:37 PM

There is a nice used TEC 140 with rings, dovetail and soft case at Astro-Mart:

http://www.astromart...ified_id=858940

Asking price is $4800 and no waiting.

I bought my TEC 140 APO used and have not regretted one bit.

Peter

#3 Mickey_C

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:43 PM

I am scared to say anything... and perhaps my experience was anecdotal... but I feel compelled to tell you any way.

I bought a APM TMB/LZOS, 5 years ago. It was a major purchase for me. I had sold my Tak FC125, due to the weight. They had a LW version of the TMB available, and the one in particular I had shipped APM/Markus was proud to tell me had the highest strehl rating of any scope they'd imported to the USA yet.

The clouds set in upon arrival, and I had to wait to use the scope. On first use, I noticed light scatter. Significant light scatter. Stray reflections galore. It was horrifying. I then carefully did what I should have done day one, and inspected the inside of the tube with a flashlight.

Lo and behold the entire system holding the baffles and the lens cell together in the OTA was nothing but three long pieces of all-thread, spaced with hex nuts screwed on them. Not a bit of it was painted. And I was no longer surprised at the weight, which was more than I anticipated.

When I contacted APM I was told this was normal, it was fine, and shouldn't be causing a problem. Keep in mind I paid to import this scope.

Like I said this is probably anecdotal, I can't imagine them shipping scopes like this as common. But nevertheless it HAPPENED TO ME.

#4 Mike Clemens

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:40 PM

Post deleted by Mike Clemens

#5 jrcrilly

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:50 PM

It's probably worth noting that APM had nothing to do with designing or producing either the TMB130SS or the TEC140 - so experiences with APM telescopes don't really apply here.

I owned a TMB130SS and have also spent considerable time looking through local TEC140 telescopes. I believe it would take a real purist to notice a performance difference. Not saying there isn't one, but I decided not to pay for it. I wound up with a TOA-130 in the end, which did offer a performance boost for imaging.

#6 dvb

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 11:31 PM

There is a nice used TEC 140 with rings, dovetail and soft case at Astro-Mart:

http://www.astromart...ified_id=858940

Asking price is $4800 and no waiting.

I bought my TEC 140 APO used and have not regretted one bit.

Peter


If I lived closer to CT, I'd probably jump on that, but living in the Pacific NW (and in Canada), it's less attractive. Darn!

#7 Mickey_C

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 01:27 AM

It's probably worth noting that APM had nothing to do with designing or producing either the TMB130SS or the TEC140 - so experiences with APM telescopes don't really apply here.

I owned a TMB130SS and have also spent considerable time looking through local TEC140 telescopes. I believe it would take a real purist to notice a performance difference. Not saying there isn't one, but I decided not to pay for it. I wound up with a TOA-130 in the end, which did offer a performance boost for imaging.


I have no idea what the relationship is of the two companies now, but the TMB I bought from them was apparently built by APM.

If you'd like I could dig up very detailed information as I still have the pictures and everything. Even the mails. It wasn't a good situation, and Thomas Back would do nothing for me at all, since it was his design scope, but he didn't build it himself.

If this is all out of place, I'll just delete it - but I've never gotten that type of treatment out of a telescope manufacturer before or since. I still feel the disappointment - that telescope was over $5,000 and I took a huge hit unloading it.

It's not something I'll be forgetting.

#8 Stelios

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 01:59 AM

Hold a second. Didn't Thomas Back die in 2007? You mentioned he would do nothing for you for a scope that you bought 5 years ago. Er, obviously not. :crazy:

Did you mean Markus Ludes? Or was the scope bought 8 or more years ago?

I'm curious because I've nothing but superlatives to say about my own APM/TMB 115 which I've owned almost 5 years as well. A few weeks ago I had it on Mars at 267x (3mm setting of Nagler 3-6 Zoom) delivering stunning images.

#9 BillP

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:24 AM

Sure there are some differences - 10mm aperture, oil vs. air spaced, but, a the end of the night, is there a real visual or imaging difference?


I would say no...not for visual anyway. You get about 16% more light gathering from the 140 over the 130. This is inconsequential for visual IME. Resolution gain is only 8%. Both scopes produce under 1 arcsec resolution so you are covered for the vast majority of evening seeing from typical locations. To bring the difference between the two down to smaller instrument, the gain a 140 has over a 130 is about the same gain a 102mm has over a 95mm scope. So in that context, probably easier to understand how little the difference is.

From a theoretical standpoint, the oil spaced 140 might cool a little faster, especially if the air spaces are significant in the 130. But as far as a real measured test, I have not come across any in my readings. Color correction on both scopes is excellent. Looking at the diagrams of the design criteria appeaars the 130 is a hair better...but academic any difference is so small. So all that is left really is mechanicals and how they may differ and the old oil vs air debate - which is not resolvable so either you are not bothered by oil or you are so a personal preference.

All-in-all, given how close the two apertures are, and the weight/size savings, and certainly the cost savings, I'd opt for the 130.

#10 RAKing

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 07:28 AM

Last month I had a chance to use use a TEC140 on Saturn. Seeing was very wobbly, but the Cassini Division was clear at 75x (Ethos 13).

I was impressed enough to lose my mind and consider buying one. Cost, with rings and case, about $6,400.00 + shipping extra

But, then a CN buddy (you know who you are :shameonyou:) mentioned the TMB130, rings and case at $4,130.00, shipping included.

That's pretty significant difference in price (about $2,500).

Sure there are some differences - 10mm aperture, oil vs. air spaced, but, a the end of the night, is there a real visual or imaging difference?


There is a 10mm difference in aperture.

I have owned both the TEC 140 and the TMB 130SS. If both are equipped with the magnificent FT 3545 focuser then the mechanical quality is the same to me and aperture is the only difference.

It was very hard for me to see the tiny increase in brightness with the 140 and I cannot say if you would see it or not. Both scopes do a great job with pin point stars and colors across the FOV.

I sold my TMB to a fellow CN'er and I hope he is still as happy with it as I was. I just recently let my TEC 140 go (back issues) and miss both of those scopes a lot.

My .02,

Ron

#11 NHRob

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 08:00 AM

If they are within < $1000 of each other I'd get the Tak140. Otherwise the TMB130SS would be my choice. I've owned both but, not together.
I once compared my TEC140 against a TMB130 CNC (LZOS glass), side by side.
We were viewing Saturn and M42 quite a bit. The optics were comparable in quality, IMO. There was a slight difference in brightness but, unless they were side-by-side I'd have a hard time noticing it unless I was looking for it.
This convinced me that I could be happy with either a 140 or 130mm apo aperture for visual.

#12 Mickey_C

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:06 AM

Hold a second. Didn't Thomas Back die in 2007? You mentioned he would do nothing for you for a scope that you bought 5 years ago. Er, obviously not. :crazy:

Did you mean Markus Ludes? Or was the scope bought 8 or more years ago?

I'm curious because I've nothing but superlatives to say about my own APM/TMB 115 which I've owned almost 5 years as well. A few weeks ago I had it on Mars at 267x (3mm setting of Nagler 3-6 Zoom) delivering stunning images.


My bad - first off, I didn't realize he had died. I wouldn't have said anything had I known.

I bought my scope in May 2007, my five years was just off the cuff last night - I hadn't realized it was longer than that. I looked it up this morning. My last email from Mr. Back was in July, 2007, and he informed me that he only designed my scope, but was not responsible for the build quality, which was indeed Markus at APM. I sold the scope on a-mart for nearly a 2K hit, as I revealed all the issues, and stated that it needed an ATM'er to rebuild it, either replacing the all-thread or blackening it all (I was not up to the task).

I didn't realize he was in ill health when I contacted him. I am sorry for dredging this up - it's really tragic that he died so young, and my sympathies and condolences for his loved ones. In consideration of that such a small financial loss is meaningless.

Feeling now about 2" tall, I'll just exit stage left..

:tonofbricks:

#13 Alan French

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:23 AM

I'd pick the TEC 140.
Oil spaced for quicker cool down.
Essentially the same weight (19 lbs versus 18.7 for the TMB).
Yes, it is a modest increase in aperture, but on some objects it will be noticeable (based on my comparison of an AP130 to an AP140).
Yuri is in Colorado, so you can directly deal with the maker if there are issues (although this is unlikely) or if you just have questions.
But, in the end, perhaps your choice would be best dictated by your financial comfort with the prices.

Clear skies, Alan

#14 ken svp120

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:30 AM

This goes back a ways and I think I've relayed the story before but a visitor to our local club who had a TMB spent a little time one evening observing through my TEC140 and proceeded to make the switch. If he is still browsing these forums, perhaps he can provide you more detail. So not only is my personal preference the TEC140 but I have first hand knowledge of an experienced observer making the choice between the two. If there is one used on Amart I would jump on it - assuming condition of course.

#15 Paul G

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:39 AM

Hold a second. Didn't Thomas Back die in 2007? You mentioned he would do nothing for you for a scope that you bought 5 years ago. Er, obviously not. :crazy:

Did you mean Markus Ludes? Or was the scope bought 8 or more years ago?

I'm curious because I've nothing but superlatives to say about my own APM/TMB 115 which I've owned almost 5 years as well. A few weeks ago I had it on Mars at 267x (3mm setting of Nagler 3-6 Zoom) delivering stunning images.


My bad - first off, I didn't realize he had died. I wouldn't have said anything had I known.

I bought my scope in May 2007, my five years was just off the cuff last night - I hadn't realized it was longer than that. I looked it up this morning. My last email from Mr. Back was in July, 2007, and he informed me that he only designed my scope, but was not responsible for the build quality, which was indeed Markus at APM. I sold the scope on a-mart for nearly a 2K hit, as I revealed all the issues, and stated that it needed an ATM'er to rebuild it, either replacing the all-thread or blackening it all (I was not up to the task).

I didn't realize he was in ill health when I contacted him. I am sorry for dredging this up - it's really tragic that he died so young, and my sympathies and condolences for his loved ones. In consideration of that such a small financial loss is meaningless.

Feeling now about 2" tall, I'll just exit stage left..

:tonofbricks:


Not a problem. FWIW, your scope is not the only one with that build. Someone posted a web page on his repair of his focuser (the lock screw for the rotating part was galling the metal) and he had to remove the objective cell, the rods, and the baffles to get the focuser out because they were all connected. Not a very elegant design, probably functional. Was your tube the non metal material?

#16 aorion314

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 09:51 AM

aorion314 here, a very honorable mea culpa, we all miss Tom Back and his amazing skill set. :)

#17 k5apl

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 10:05 AM

My choice is the TEC140 because:
There have been 400-500 of them made and sold.....
I owned one and liked it......
TEC bends over backwards for customer service and satisfaction (in my experience).................
Its made in America.........

I have had experience dealing with repair from Europe, and
don't want to go through that again.
YMMV

Wes

#18 John Anthony

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 10:12 AM

Sure there are some differences - 10mm aperture, oil vs. air spaced, but, a the end of the night, is there a real visual or imaging difference?


I would say no...not for visual anyway. You get about 16% more light gathering from the 140 over the 130. This is inconsequential for visual IME. Resolution gain is only 8%. Both scopes produce under 1 arcsec resolution so you are covered for the vast majority of evening seeing from typical locations. To bring the difference between the two down to smaller instrument, the gain a 140 has over a 130 is about the same gain a 102mm has over a 95mm scope. So in that context, probably easier to understand how little the difference is.

From a theoretical standpoint, the oil spaced 140 might cool a little faster, especially if the air spaces are significant in the 130. But as far as a real measured test, I have not come across any in my readings. Color correction on both scopes is excellent. Looking at the diagrams of the design criteria appeaars the 130 is a hair better...but academic any difference is so small. So all that is left really is mechanicals and how they may differ and the old oil vs air debate - which is not resolvable so either you are not bothered by oil or you are so a personal preference.

All-in-all, given how close the two apertures are, and the weight/size savings, and certainly the cost savings, I'd opt for the 130.


I second this, I owned the TEC 140 and I have looked thru the TMB 130, it was my experience with the TMB 130 that led me to purchase the TMB 92SS without ever looking thru one. Visually both are outstanding and you would be hard pressed to see a difference, personally I prefer the air over the oil, and the cost difference would close the deal for me.

#19 jrcrilly

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 10:22 AM

I have had experience dealing with repair from Europe, and
don't want to go through that again.
YMMV

Wes


I don't discount your experience, but it's a red herring so far as this comparison is concerned. Again - there is no European connection with either telescope being considered here.

#20 Mickey_C

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 10:42 AM

I have had experience dealing with repair from Europe, and
don't want to go through that again.
YMMV

Wes


I don't discount your experience, but it's a red herring so far as this comparison is concerned. Again - there is no European connection with either telescope being considered here.


So does astro-tech now own/make the TMB signature series? I searched online for who is making them now, and I couldn't find anything definitive, but all the 130 signature series being offered by vendors are astro-tech TMB SS.

If these are astro-tech telescopes, I can only give the strongest of endorsements. My AT80LE is one of the highest quality telescopes I've owned, is a dream to use, and the support is top-notch!

#21 NHRob

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 10:53 AM

Ooops, sorry about my recommendation to get a Tak140.
If you find one let me know!
:john: :john: :john: :john:

#22 jrbarnett

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:34 AM

There is no comparison. The TEC is the better scopes and the better "deal" in a bang for the buck sense, if you can swing the extra two large.

- Jim

#23 Scott99

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:57 AM

So we're talking about the current Asian-produced TMB? The extra 2,000 will be for the premium optics of TEC. That may or may not be what you're after. For the combination of premium optics and bigger aperture I would go for the 140, but I'm sure the TMB130 would serve you well and save you some money.

#24 BillP

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:23 PM

So we're talking about the current Asian-produced TMB? The extra 2,000 will be for the premium optics of TEC.


Hmmmm :thinking: ... Pardon me for pushing some buttons here but... I believe my Takahashi is "Asian-produced". And "premium" is simply a nondescript label with no real meaning. For a $2k difference there better be something more substantial than not preferring a source country and a subjective belief in premium.

I have examined both scopes on many occassions. Fit and finish on the TEC I characterize as a notch better than TMB and on-par from my standpoint with AP. So a robustly built and robustly looking machine. The glass however I never trust on any scope regardless of the name as I've had inexpensive optics perform better than top teir brands. So as far as I'm concerned more the luck of the draw...but of course one would hope that the more well known names produce a more consistent quality. But even so, any scope I buy needs to have a cost-free return policy since even the best are never perfect in what goes out the door. Pick a good reseller, and all these worries vanish and can level it to just specification differences.

#25 Alan French

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:27 PM

When thinking about the price difference, keep in mind that this scope could be a lifetime investment and a instrument that keeps you happy and busy for the rest of your life.

Clear skies, Alan






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