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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
The market for big refractors: Your opinions?
      #5752529 - 03/23/13 07:29 PM

I'd like to do an informal poll getting your preferences for large refractors. By large, I mean 150mm and larger. Things I'm interested in are the following:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

Thanks in advance for playing along. I have my opinions on these items, but would rather share them after others have had a chance to give their views.

Regards,

Jim


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5752733 - 03/23/13 09:14 PM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?
Both

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?
TEC 140 is big enough for me. Crisp and wide fields of view are important. If the focal length is too long I lose the wide fields of view.
Price wise the TEC 140 was at the used price point that was acceptable. I couldn't justify doubling the cost of the scope for an extra inch.
I have a Discmount DM6 and AP900GTO so I probably could handle up to a TEC 160 with my current mounts. The extra bulk of the 160
might reduce the frequency I would take to scope to sites away from my backyard observatory. The TEC 140 works as stand alone
scope when I don't have room for more such as a camping road trip. It also works well as a 2nd scope to pair up with a large Dob.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?
Don't have direct experience with this scope. I find the my TEC 140 and SV115T both have very good color correction. I don't think I would buy an
f/9 or longer refractor because of limited field of view.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )
I don't see myself buying a refractor more than 160mm. I certainly wouldn't pay more than about $7500 for it, so it's unlikely that I will find a quality
160mm APO at that price. If my home was in a blue, grey or black zone I would consider buying a larger refractor that would stay permanently mounted.
$10,000 to $12000 would be my limit so I probably couldn't buy something larger than 180mm if I could find something quality on the used market.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?
The designer or location doesn't mean that much as long as the scope has been out for a while and has a reputation for consistent quality.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?
I waited 18 months for the SV115T when I had the chance to buy it at a good discount knowing I would have a long wait. I bought the TEC 140 used because the
price was right and it was instantly available. available within 3 months is a major plus. I am not much for unlimited wait lists.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?
Since I am not in the market for larger than a TEC 140, I am not concerned about the weight of the one I have.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?
I think a 12 inch pier extension is very useful to help with clearing tripod legs.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?
Can't imaging wanting to deal with a scope so long it required a strut for stability.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?
My SV115T has a removable extension tube which is useful for wide field of view with bino viewers. It would also also the tube to fit in a carryon size case.
I like the bino viewer flexibility. My TEC 140 fits into my Highlander just fine. I wouldn't want to fly with it though.


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5752925 - 03/23/13 10:57 PM

Well, Jim...even with all the parameters, for me on the visual side, I like deep space stuff, so a refractor doesn't work, especially from my suburban backyard. I need big to suck in the photons. So...it's 14"+. Purely visual, I'd have to go with one of the new f3 Newts in the 18-20 inch class. I'm tall enough that there would be no stepladder even with a 20" Newt.

However, for imaging, I would LOVE to have a Tak TOA 150B and all the flatteners, etc. for an imaging scope. Tak has arguably the best color correction for imaging and 6" of magnificent refractor would be just fine, thank you. And yes, it would be fun to take a peek at Saturn through it.

David


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Ziggy943
Post Laureate


Reged: 08/11/06

Loc: Utah
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5753139 - 03/24/13 01:48 AM

A spec that is missing: Achro or APO; Achro F/6 to 8 or F/15 or greater

(1) Visual but just ordered a camera.
(2) 9"; 12" if you put it into an observatory
(3) Modest color is OK
(4) Depends on OTA system
(5) NO
(6) I have waited 10 months and been on a list for over 10 years.
(7) That would be fine. You could maybe fit 6" OTA's on those mounts but I wouldn't put an 8" on anything less that a CGE

Atlas class EQ head might be OK for 6" F/8?

(8) That would be good. Put leveling screws on the legs. Offer legs for AP piers with leveling screws.

(9) They help

(10) NO

YMVM but I would not be interested in any achromat 6" or greater less than F/15 unless you're offering Schupmann refractors.

My $0.02 worth


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t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Ziggy943]
      #5753337 - 03/24/13 07:01 AM

1) Visual only...and proud of it!
2) 8"...any bigger is no longer portable and easy to use.
3) I prefer a CA ratio of 3 to get to diffraction limited...now if a filter like Baaders Semi-Apo gets me there, okay.
4) 6=$8000, 6.3=$12000, 7=$19000, 8=$20000. Money is not an issue for me...practicality and value is! I have had near purchases of an AP 160, TEC180 and a TEC200, I just can't justify the ROI, yet. I really do believe that a 5" apo is the "sweet spot" for many reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. I supplement aperture with a larger SCT.
5) Yes.
6) Yes and yes.
7) Think it is a plus.
8) I think there are plenty of options already, but it is always a plus when a manufacturer designs a complete system. Think AP scope, Mach1 & Eagle pier!
9) Great idea.
10) This has been my plan for years if I end up getting an 8" D&G to make it transportable by mere mortal standards.

Thats the way I see it...


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ken svp120
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/19/04

Loc: Ohio
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5753749 - 03/24/13 11:34 AM

Hi Jim, interesting list of questions...I'll add to the replies,

1) Primarily visual with main interests being planetary and brighter DSO's but also dabble in imaging

2) Depends entirely on the application and situation. If I want a really good imaging optic, then my need for aperture is far less important than the quality of the scope so I might consider the TEC110 plenty big enough. If I am more concerned with visual work then the answer depends on if I'm interested in portability or not. If I am, then I would consider about 180mm big enough. If I am not concerned about portability and will be permanently mounting the scope, then why stop at 8"....show me 12"

3) I have no experience with the Meade you mentioned but I am fairly color sensitive. Again, if the application is imaging, I want superb color correction among other aberrations being very well controlled. If the application is mostly visual I could tolerate a somewhat lower level of correction but, for example, would still not want to see any CA on lunar or planetary viewing.

4) As little as possible! But seriously this would entirely depend on how well the scope is made and its price point relative to others available in similar size/quality.

5) It would be a plus if the design were from a well known source but would not be a deal breaker - designs can be checked by third parties with little trouble. As for place of manufacture, I could care less. The critical consideration would be how precisely the manufacture is in accordance with the design.

6) Yes, availability is a major plus. I don't know if I'll be alive 5 years from now so why would I get on a 10 year waiting list? I would say any wait longer than a 1 year period would be unacceptable and would lead me to very likely not consider the scope.

7) I don't think you gain much using ultra-light materials relative to the cost. I think the big weight is in the objective assembly and primarily the glass. Unless you think you can cut the weight say in half, then why spend noticeably more money on marginal weight savings? Will the weight savings actually be enough to change the class of mount that will be required for the scope? I guess what I'm getting at is that a 180mm scope is going to require a certain class mount. Now if that scope weighs in at 45lbs or 40lbs does that mean if its 40lbs I can step down a grade in mount and pick up the monetary savings there?

8) Sure but this would not be a significant consideration in my decision making.

9) Same as #8

10) No way. I think this opens up a can of worms. How will you control tube flex? How will you ensure that these joints don't wear significantly over time so as to become sloppy fits? And if you open up the tube assembly regularly you're taking more of a chance of contamination to that inside surface of the objective. Right now, I only run the risk of getting dust, sap, scratches, etc on the outside of my lens - I don't see a benefit in doubling my chances!

And aside from mere musing, why are you asking about all this?...thinking of going into business?


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5753841 - 03/24/13 12:25 PM

This all just shooting fromt the hip on a Sunday morning...


(1) Visual and imaging.

(2) Upper limit for me, 'maybe' 200mm at f/8.

(3) All depends if it could be easily filtered or corrected, and how corrected at each wavelength when in focus(spot size)

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (here for me it's be 'apo' only, and most likely used)
(i) 150mm?, up to ~7k
(ii) 160mm?, up to ~9k
(iii) 180mm?, up to ~15k
(iv) 200mm? , up to ~20k

(5) Yes, but not mandatory. QA and verifiable test results would work for me.
(i) Location unimportant, QA is.

(6) Ready avail is good but I could wait 6-9 months max, otherwise I'd look used.

(7) This IMO complicated but as things get larger as long as there are no undesirable side effects wrt optic's temp tracking... put another way as long as the design 'scales' well -the IStar concept certainly interests me (no interest in starting anything here about originality of concept, just that they are offering it)

(8) This would be smart marketing, but many folks probably have some source of pipe mfg. nearby and can have mede relatively locally for not a lot of coin. Wouldn't make or break a sale for me.

(9) Not interested in anything that might require this, I'd rather have a better tube or rail as in the IStar concept.

(10) No.


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bobhen
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/25/05

Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5754332 - 03/24/13 03:49 PM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Visual and Video

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

I have an AP155 now and that’s plenty to set up BUT if a 7-inch F7 or F8 could be made light enough, that would be very tempting

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

The same - as a minimum

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

If a 180mm F7 or F8 (doublet or triplet) could be made light enough and at the TEC, TAK, AP quality level, then 12-15K - maybe more?

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

No - Design is somewhat irrelevant – it’s mostly about execution.
No – Not necessarily a plus

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

Readily available is a plus of course BUT
If I could get exactly what I wanted, I would be willing to wait a year (as I have in the past)

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

Lighter is always better IF cooling, stability, and overall strength is not compromised

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

Sure, why not

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

Hargreaves struts usually indicate long or heavy OTAs and long and heavy OTAs are something that I’m not interested in.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

No – That’s not of interest.

Bob


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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5754355 - 03/24/13 04:04 PM

Quote:

I'd like to do an informal poll getting your preferences for large refractors. By large, I mean 150mm and larger. Things I'm interested in are the following:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Visual now, eventually both

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

150mm and 120mm

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

Better

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

12,000 for the scope, similar for the mount

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

Takahashi quality minimum

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

I was able to find one with no wait, but it was luck

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

Observatory, so light has some but marginal value

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

ATS pier in observatory

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

Not for me

Thanks in advance for playing along. I have my opinions on these items, but would rather share them after others have had a chance to give their views.

But, and this is perhaps only relevant to me, a large dob will be my third scope for visual

Regards,

Jim




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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #5754441 - 03/24/13 04:51 PM

Short answer version:
I could see my way to a 150, a 180 would be deluxe, but anything 7" or more that was remotely affordable and had decent color correction (so no APO's here....) would never fit in my obs.
Color would have to be better than my 120 ED to justify the purchase, which gets me into an f/12 or preferably 15 at 180mm. However, a 90" scope is a tight fit in a 94" space, so in the real world, a 150/12 is as much scope as I can consider. Would I like a bigger one? Of course!!
As for piers and the like, it seems that every scope and every observer has their own situation, so that would be best buying the components to fit as needed.
Component-scopes are a workable idea, sturdy construction, composites included, a pair of flanges and 4-6 bolts can make something 99% as good as one tube, and certainly be easier to fit into the family auto.
Country of origin or maker name not very important....a good piece of glass is a good piece of glass, no matter what language the maker speaks.....
I'm willing to wait a while....quality does indeed take time!
Russ


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Crow Haven
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/09/09

Loc: Oregon USA
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5754453 - 03/24/13 04:58 PM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? Primarily visual.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?
152mm. Specifically the Tak 152-FS as it is the perfect fit for my usage, observatory, CGEM mt.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?
Only the color correction on par with a Tak 152-FS would tempt me.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )
For an equivalent to a 152-FS doublet, $6000 to $7000. Not interested in larger refractors -- prefer to use reflector design for larger aperture.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? I don't care who makes it or where as long as it performs well.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?
I'd be willing to wait up to 6 months.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm? I prefer aluminum tubes, keep it strong and as light as possible.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?
Could be a good idea, but I don't need this as I have a permanent pier already.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?
Not needed for the size ota I'm interested in.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?
Not needed in my usage...and a beautiful Tak 152-FS ota would fit in my RAV-4 as is!


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BKBrown
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5754461 - 03/24/13 05:01 PM

So here we go:
(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? Both.
(2) How big is "big enough" and why? 200mm would be very tempting since I do lunar and planetary imaging and want as much aperture as I can get. At a minimum I would be looking for 40mm plus over my current TEC 140 to get a significant step up in capability.
(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?
Don’t really know this scope, but I would insist that the color correction in focus be at least as good as my SW100ED f/9…and it is very good.
(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher.) I wouldn’t really be interested in anything smaller than 180mm, so I’ll start at 180mm. Is it safe to use the APM 152mm doublet as a benchmark? If so, I would go 8k for a 180 and up to around 12k for a 200 assuming a doublet with a really decent quality focuser and finishing.
(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? I would prefer to have optics from someone with a good reputation in the business who is prepared to stand behind their work.
(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?
Ready availability would be great, but for a first rate product I could be convinced to wait 6-10 months.
(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm? How do you make lighter glass? You could base these scopes on doublets and I have no issue with this as per my earlier statement. Doublets can be made that are essentially color free in focus, that would do for me. As for other materials, I am not a fan of carbon fiber and I want my focuser to be a precision piece of mechanical engineering. This beast would live in my observatory so the weight is less important to me.
(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA? I’d love that! Just give me a head assembly that I can pair with the mount of my choice and I am a happy camper.
(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies? Cool option, but I don’t anticipate the need if the OTAs are f/9 or less.
(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)? Not for me, I have no need for this capability. And certainly not if it drives up the price.
Hope this helps

Clear Skies,
Brian


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mgwhittle
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Chattanooga, TN
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5754467 - 03/24/13 05:03 PM



(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Visual...but would like to imaging if I had enough time in my life.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

175/180 is big enough...anything larger and I couldn't set it up or tear it down by myself. Nor would I want to haul around a mount appropriate for a 200mm.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

No, I want better correction and am willing to pay for it.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

I paid 19,800 for a 175mm. I would pay 9-11K for a 150mm of the same quality. I wouldn't buy a 200mm because I couldn't transport it by myself like I would want to.....but if I had a permanent place for it, I would pay 25K or so.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

No, but if they are an unknown designer with no reputation, I would want a test report showing the quality of the lens.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

How can ready availability not be a plus? However, I would not expect a "discount" for waiting if the lens and mechanics were world class.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

Interesting. But I think skimping on the mount is bad for any telescope set up. A 150mm on an Atlas is fine, but I wouldn't want to put anything larger on it.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

Interesting again. But except for the CGE, I don't think any of those options would be acceptable for me for anything over 150mm.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

No.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

I have no desire to try and disassemble a 175mm or larger refractor in the dark. I would rather just lift it off the mount and place it in a case.


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Syrtis Major
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5754572 - 03/24/13 05:44 PM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?
Visual only.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?
For several reasons 140 mm would be the sweet spot for me:
- Prices explode beyond 150 mm.
- Larger scopes are uncomfortable to move around and mount. Due to light pollution I need to be mobile.
- Probabely one day a 140 mm f/5,5 could be build. Would give a nice 3.5° FoV.
- According to Rayleigh 140 mm would yield a resolution of 1''. An exit pupil of 0.7 mm would mean a magnification of 200x. Both would perfectly meet my lousy average European seeing conditions.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?
I have no idea about the colour correction of this particular scope. I would say that e.g. the colour correction of a 140 mm ED doublet could reach something like a f/40 or even f/50 achromat.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher.
4000 $ / 3000 € max. regardless of size. I still have my and other mouths to feed.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?
Nope. If it's fine, it's fine, even if our Chinese or Taiwanese friends would develop and build it.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?
I would wait half a year or so if the price is nice.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?
Not so relevant for visual use only, as the mount could be kept smaller compared to photography. A carbon tube would be nice.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?
Unfortunately I have no idea what pier assemblies are. (No native speaker.)

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?
See no. 8.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?
Would not be needed as I would like a fast scope only.

My impromptu 2 cents so far.


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The Ardent
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5754636 - 03/24/13 06:10 PM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? Visual 99%

(2) How big is "big enough" and why? Im happy with 152mm, but will only go larger if I find a good deal. And only a TEC or AP. For 8" I want a Mewlon, larger is dobs only. Everything has to be portable

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? NOT for an "apo" , But 8-15" D&G is acceptable. If I had an observatory

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. ) Not in the market. Im good right now.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? Yes. Based on my own experience I will be happy with AP, TEC, TAK, D&G, or Russian.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?
Only buying used

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?
Thats a good idea, but practical for real life use? I dont know.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA? The G-11 legs and extension are tall enough for portable use.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies? If I had an observatory

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)? Borg offered that on the 150. Aftermarket- Binoscope will do that for any scope. It works when done right.


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Eddgie
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5754728 - 03/24/13 06:52 PM

Quote:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?




Visual.. Like the Tom Selleck in "Quigly down under" the great line at the end where he says "I said I didn't like them... I didn't say I wasn't any good with them (referring to handguns and astro-cameras). So, let's say "Visual only" for me.

Quote:

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?



6" I suppose is plenty. 7" would not be a meaningful enough of an improvement to me and the moutning and usability issues escalate right along with the cost.

But there is also "Field of view." Bigger is almost always longer in focal lenght, and the main thing that attracts me to big refractors is their outstanding off axis (and consequent wide field) performance.

Quote:

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?




I personally could live the rest of my own life with that color correction. I had the 6" f/9 version of this scope and loved loved loved it. Never had an issue with the level of color correction. Perhaps not considered an APO in this day and age, I found it to be more than good enough for visual use for me personally.

Quote:

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )




$5000. Size doesn't matter. I would not pay more than this personally. I would not own the 6" APO I have now if I had to pay more than the $3200 I did pay for it.

Quote:

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?




No, and No.

Quote:

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?




I have waited for things before, and don't mind waiting a reasonable amount of time (6 months tops). I'll never have my name on a waiting list for 5 years again unless the list is for something that pumps hot red blood and I need it bad...

Quote:

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?




Meaningless to me personally.

Quote:

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?




No meaningful added value to me.


Quote:

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?




Not meaningful to me as a differentiator in the marketplace as long as there is a source available elsewhere.


Quote:

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?




No, not to me. I would be unlikely to own an instrument large enough that this would be a benefit to me. See question two.

Hope this data is useful to you.


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Sean Puett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5754733 - 03/24/13 06:54 PM

Too big an investment for me. TEC 140 probably my absolute limit. Still light enough for a reasonably priced mount and still a significant amount of money. Personally, I would rather spend that money on a premium dob.
I am visual only btw.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Sean Puett]
      #5755202 - 03/24/13 11:27 PM

Scott, what if you could get an 8" refractor with color correction on par with a 5" f/9 FPL-51 doublet, for significantly less than you paid for the TEC 140?

Another thought: what if the KUnming 6" f/5.9 achro came bundled with a Chromacorr-type device. How much would such a bundle be worth to you (or anyone else reading this thread)? The OTA along in Astrotelescopes guise is about $950. Would the addition of a color correction device make it worth $3000? $2750? $2500? Less?

Thanks.

The responses thus far are interesting. Thanks to everyone who has responded thus far. I'll add my $0.02 to the thread tomorrow, point for point.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (03/24/13 11:34 PM)


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BKBrown
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5755222 - 03/24/13 11:40 PM

An interesting proposition Jim, that would be significantly less than I anticipated extrapolating from current APM pricing...

Clear Skies,
Brian

Edited by BKBrown (03/24/13 11:44 PM)


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Ziggy943]
      #5755253 - 03/24/13 11:55 PM

Hi Ziggy. Not specifying achromat or apochromat was deliberate. In my view, those terms as they apply to products actually available today (rather than Abbe's theoretical definition of apochromatism) are illusory and apply to refractors all along the spectrum of color correction. That's why I specified a level of color correction in reference to a known, historical refractor (and I agree with Ed Moreno - for me the 5" f/9 Meade ED doublet was absolutely satisfactory in this regard) in one of the queries.

Personally I'm thinking more along the lines of a fast, conventional crown and flint doublet coupled with something like a matched Chromacorr (matched to the level of SA correction of the optic) in the optical train. Imagine a lightweight, 8" f/6 or f/7 with color correction on par with an f/23-f/25 6" achromat. Would such a scope be an "achromat", an ""apochromat" or something else?

Regards,

Jim


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watcher
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5755280 - 03/25/13 12:18 AM

1. Visual only
2. 9, maybe a 10 inch. Why? because I have come to the conclusion that, for me at least, big glass has to be no more than about 1800mm long, I want wide field for the most part from a light bucket lens.I'll go with some species of Cass for planets and the moon.
3. much worse is fine for the uses I have for a large refractor.
4. About 3500 sounds right for an 8" achro 5000 for something with a little extra OOMPH, like Istar's R30.
5. Don't care much as long as it's made well, But the USA would be preferable as long as it can be done competitively.
6. I'm pretty patient, but no multi-year waits PLEASE.
7. I would prefer light weight "standard" materials. I really don't think that "built like a tank" translates well to large refractors.
8. Everyone is different. I think if your intelligent enough to be interested in astronomy in the first place, you can figure out what pier height you need, and how to put one together or have someone fashion it for you.
9. Again, not tough to DIY, but It might be nice to have a ready made solution if you wanted this scope to be a longer focal length.
10. Should be an option depending on individuals usage. I would only have, pretty much any refractor bigger than a shortish 6", permanently mounted.

With Istar, D&G, and APM, there are already some pretty good choices for big refractors. I think what we really need is a high capacity mount maker that can offer sturdy mounts for visual use. IE something like the CG-5 on steroids. I don't see why Synta couldn't make mounts with 150, 200, and 300 pound capacities, "good enough" for visual for under 10,000.00


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De Lorme
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Reged: 12/30/08

Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5755282 - 03/25/13 12:20 AM

Your right Jim, I have a CR6" and I'm waiting for the Raycorr. The most important thing to me though is my rool off roof. Oh Comfort! The rool off roof is allowing me to think of the BIG 8" achro! Just set it up once and I'm done.
The convienvce factor is what people think of last.
No matter what your taste, put up an observatory. De Lorme


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Sean Puett
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Reged: 09/06/10

Loc: always cloudy, washington
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5755363 - 03/25/13 01:17 AM

Quote:

Scott, what if you could get an 8" refractor with color correction on par with a 5" f/9 FPL-51 doublet, for significantly less than you paid for the TEC 140?

Another thought: what if the KUnming 6" f/5.9 achro came bundled with a Chromacorr-type device. How much would such a bundle be worth to you (or anyone else reading this thread)? The OTA along in Astrotelescopes guise is about $950. Would the addition of a color correction device make it worth $3000? $2750? $2500? Less?

Thanks.

The responses thus far are interesting. Thanks to everyone who has responded thus far. I'll add my $0.02 to the thread tomorrow, point for point.

Regards,


Jim




That is genius. Why hasn't anyone done this?. Now that would sell me on a large refractor. An 8"f6 with chromacorr built in. Even the 6" f5.9 with chromacorr would be interesting. I think his name is Dr dub, but anyway his images with that scope and the chromacorr showed very little, if any, color.
You could be starting the large refractor revolution. How fast can you correct with a chromacorr?


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De Lorme
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Reged: 12/30/08

Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Sean Puett]
      #5755409 - 03/25/13 02:09 AM

Sean, A 8"f/6lens weight's aprox 10.75. Hastings tubing 7lbs,Tub rings 10lbs. The lenght{48"} is the same as a AT 10" reflector which my CGEM handled without any problems.
I'm thinking of flocking it with Prostar because it's easier
and read it gives good results. De Lorme


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RAKing
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5755678 - 03/25/13 08:47 AM

Quote:

I'd like to do an informal poll getting your preferences for large refractors. By large, I mean 150mm and larger. Things I'm interested in are the following:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Visual only for now.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

For me, 160mm is big enough. I have to have a scope I can physically handle and I have to switch to a mirror if I go above that size.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

Equal or better is fine.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

I have a very nice 140 and cannot gamble my retirement funds on something too expensive. Get me a decent 160mm f/7.5 doublet for around $6K and I would be tempted. I realize I might have to wait for something on the "used" market with that budget.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

If it's a good design and well executed, I'm not picky about where it is made.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

With my current inventory, I can wait a reasonable amount of time.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

I prefer aluminum, but would consider alternate materials. The manufacturer MUST use a decent focuser. No cutting corners on the mechanics of the scope. Nothing less than the FeatherTouch design will do. I have seen enough bad focusers to last my entire life.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

OBE - I have a Mach 1 on an Eagle pier (with extension). Whatever is on the market has to fit on this combo for me to be interested.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

Not necessary for my desired aperture.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

This sounds interesting, but in reality it's just more hassle than it's worth. When I'm breaking things down at "zero dark something", I want the fewest pieces possible and I don't want to be disassembling something as valuable as my telescope.

Thanks in advance for playing along. I have my opinions on these items, but would rather share them after others have had a chance to give their views.

Regards,

Jim





Thanks for the poll, Jim. I look forward to your ideas.

Cheers,

Ron


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Stellarfire
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5756322 - 03/25/13 02:43 PM

Quote:


(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?
Visual only (mainly lunar and planetary) with TAK TOA-150B.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?
Without permanent setup: 150-180mm, not slower than f/8; with permanent setup or observatory: 180-200mm, not slower than f/10.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?
I have no experience with it. I consider APO's from TAK, A-P and TEC as benchmark refractors.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )
Speaking of APO's with benchmark quality: 150mm = up to $12,000; 160mm = up to $14,000; 180mm = up to $17,000; 200mm = up to $ 24,000 (If funded to buy... These figures reflect the current price situation, I don't think that this price level may be substantially lowered. At least if benchmark APO quality is wanted.)

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer?
Perhaps. But just a slight surcharge would be accepted.
If the optics were manufactured in Europe?
No.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?
Waiting time not more than 6 months please. A-P-style 10year waiting list system is a total NO-GO to me.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?
Without importance to me.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?
TAK does this, I highly appreciate it.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?
I don't have an opinion on this.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?
Not interested in modular OTA's.





Stephan


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5756371 - 03/25/13 03:05 PM

Quote:



(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? I do both
(2) How big is "big enough" and why? A 130MM would be big enough, if I wanted larger than you have SCT's and Newtonian

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse? Don't know that scope, the worse I would take is my 80MM EON, which is an F6.25.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

I wouldn't, like I said 130MM is abou as big as I want.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? Not really, as long as the quality is good, that is more important, while some people like labels, I like quality

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer? I wouldn't wait longer than 3 months

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?
Hmmmmm I would consider it.
(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

Hmmmmm I would consider it.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

Hmmmmm have no idea what a hargreaves is, so I guess the answer is no

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

Like I said 130MM, no reason to have a modular tube

Thanks in advance for playing along. I have my opinions on these items, but would rather share them after others have had a chance to give their views.

Regards,

Jim




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snommisbor
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 06/15/09

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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5756500 - 03/25/13 04:07 PM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? 75% Imaging 25% visual

(2) How big is "big enough" and why? If I dont have a permanent location probably 160mm, think for portable or setting up in the backyard if I want to go bigger and deeper I would get a SCT or Reflector

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse? Never looked through it but I want the best color correction.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. ) All pertaining to IF I had the funds but I would 19,000 for a 180mm which happens to be a TEC 180 : )

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? Yes it would, call me a snob but I like having the best, feel the premium will make it cheaper in the long run should I ever sell.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer? I waited 10 months for the TEC 140 would say 18 months would be pushing the limit for me, even though I am on a list that could be 9 more years for me. But if it was a scope I was wanting for an observatory 18 months would be my max.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm? Not important to me, if I had a world class telescope I would want it on a world class mount.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA? Sure that would be fine.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies? Wouldnt change why I would buy a certain one. For me it is all about the glass.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)? No because if I go that big it will be in an observatory.


I am about the optics, so that is very important to me and it is worth it for the premium. An analogy for me would be why do people buy Canon and Nikon DSLR's and then proceed to put third party lenses on them. Sure they are cheaper and can take great photos but the reason you buy these cameras is to have the excellent glass that is made by these companies. Cameras will become obsolete but fine glass will always be in demand.


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Mark Costello
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5756688 - 03/25/13 05:50 PM

Before answering, I'll mention a couple of things.

First, although I consider myself a bit of a "refracto-fanatic," I draw the line at 5" - or maybe 140mm. The only 6" refractor I've seen that I might want to handle is the Celestron C150R, and its chromatic aberration may be a bit too much even for me. Otherwise, any system 6" or larger that I get will work mostly or completely with mirrors.

Second, while I have no problems with the superiority of apos, I can make do fine easily with achros like the one I have right now, and am not motivated to buy any apo, unless again it's the kind that works with mirrors.

Now here are my answers to your questions:



I'd like to do an informal poll getting your preferences for large refractors. By large, I mean 150mm and larger. Things I'm interested in are the following:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? Visual observer only

(2) How big is "big enough" and why? 5" or maybe 5.5". Anything bigger that I own will work with mirrors.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse? Um, see my signature. Any more questions on that line?

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. ) Maybe up to a couple of grand, given that it'll work with mirrors. Otherwise, I'm sticking with my current 5"-er.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? It does not matter to me, as indicated by what I own now. OTOH, it has not escaped my notice that the 2 grand that I might throw at a good 4" or 5" apo can get a nice premium 8-11" Dob from at least one maker.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer? Yes, although I could wait longer - maybe up to a year given periodic updates or at least a willingness to answer an occarional question on status. A big negative for me is an indeterminately long "wait to order" list.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm? Not enough to want to buy one. What are the heat transfer characteristics of these?

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA? It would not attract me. Mounts that large are too much for me....

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies? No.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)? No.

Thanks in advance for playing along. I have my opinions on these items, but would rather share them after others have had a chance to give their views.


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Mark Costello]
      #5756740 - 03/25/13 06:19 PM

Mark, is your self-imposed 5" or 5.5" limit based on assumptions about the possible color correction of larger faster scopes? You mentioned the C6R in your preface, and that's a pretty long OTA at f/8. There are 6" achromats at f/6.5 and f/5.9 as well. What if you could get a 6" f/5.9 achromat with color correction comparable to that of a 5" f/9 ED doublet, all for a "reasonable" price (say $2500 for sake of argument). Such a scope would ride comfortably on a CGEM/Atlas class mount and in a pinch could make due with a Sirius or CG5.

Would that make you more interested in something larger?

Thanks!

- Jim


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Gord
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5757155 - 03/25/13 10:34 PM

So Jim,

I've been looking into the alternative to a big APO like you are hinting at for some time now. It's a good approach for visual observers (IMHO), but it isn't quite a pure refractor like as some might like. By this I mean, there is a little more work involved, a little bit of "fiddling" that is possible (but may not really be required). I've noticed that there are a number of refractor people (lets call them...) that have no interest in this and in fact go so far as to despise it and any situation/setup/use-case where it could occur. Not sure how big of a group that is...

Anyway, the other point to it is that things may not be as cheap as you are indicating if you are going for more "top-shelf" performance. In the 6" size you are mentioning if you were to go with run of the mill decent Asian scope performance, then I could see it being possible to be done in the price range you are thinking. But at larger sizes and getting into the good quality offerings, it will start to cost. That being said, it's in a whole different league than the true APO's!

Here's an example:

D&G 8" scope is around $4000. Add in the corrector and some special parts to adjustments and tuning and you'll add $1500 to closer to $2k. The D&G backlog is 1-2yrs and I think it's because they are somewhat under-priced. At $5000 for the OTA, I think the wait's would drop a bit.

So, in the $7000 range for a very nice, ED to APO performer on axis. Is that good value? In comparison to other APO's, absolutely!! But compared to other alternatives, well, it gave me some pause. Not saying that I won't eventually end up at one of these anyway, but not right now. And I wouldn't see this as a replacement for something like the C14 for example.

The one thing about the D&G's though, is F12 is as fast as they come. I went looking to see about something faster with the above idea in mind. APM is now out (not doing achro's anymore). I'd like to see if there is something at the next quality level up from IStar as well.

I inquired with Bob Royce about a custom project and it isn't cheap (although the quality is I'm sure there). $4000 for a 7" lens in cell. I also found another possibility at 8" (and F8) for in the $4000 range. That would be the one I would likely pick if I go this route. The quality level here is going to be at the level of what the LZOS APO triplets are, so this is the "good stuff" (tm).

But as I was saying above, you have to build a quality scope around that and add the corrector. When you start looking at the Astro-Physics focusers and such, there's a fair amount to add on top of the lens. Still, $7-8000 for a premium 8" is a bargin compared to the APO triplets.

So the real question is, is there a market out there for something like this?

Clear skies,


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Gord]
      #5757272 - 03/25/13 11:58 PM

That is the real question. I don't think there's much of a market for $7-8k non-perfectly-apochromatic, visual-use refractors. Key, I think, is getting someone with mass-production muscle to be able to churn out larger aperture scopes of decent (better than 1/4 wave) quality, fast doublets in decent tube assemblies, and then add to that something that corrects for false color, which would be the expensive bit. Royce and D&G don't mass-produce so their costs are very high. I think you need a partnership between a mass-producer and a seriosuly innovative and savvy optical expert and manufacturer. I figure a ~1/4.5 to 1/5 wave 180mm f/6 doublet with correction bringing it in line with a 5" f/9 FPL-51 doublet, if possible, would have takers in the $4000-$4500 range. The OTA would be only about 4-feet long and 35#, so not especially hard to handle for a CGEM/Atlas class mount for visual.

I dunno if this is possible. I just think that combination of size, quality and price would sell. With such a scope available what visual user would instead buy a $5k to $7k mass produced 6" ED triplet? But I'm getting ahead of myself. I owe some answers to my own questions which I will provide in a few.

Regards,

Jim


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FirstSightModerator
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5757348 - 03/26/13 01:13 AM

Visual only.

In my current situation, a TV NP-101 is both the largest refractor and the most expensive refractor I'd consider. Maybe if I unexpectedly became wealthy, I'd buy a used Astro-Physics f/6 ish 130mm when one eventually became available, because the extra inch of aperture is just enough to begin to resolve some things that 4 inches simply doesn't.

However, beyond 5 inches, IMHO the advantages of the pure, unobstructed planetary or widefield APO view become heavily outweighted (both in performance and cost-effectiveness) by the greater resolution power of aperture from a large reflector with good optics and collimation. Returning to the "if I became wealthy enough to afford it" theme, a 20" f/3.3 Starmaster would be at the head of my priority line ahead of a 130mm Astro-Physics refractor, nice as it would be to someday have both.

A well-balanced visual observer needs both a good versatile 100mm refractor (manageable size for grab n'go) and a good quality reflector with enough aperture for some serious reach and resolution, while still being able to keep one's feet on the ground without needing a ladder. That's the perfect combo to me.


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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5757682 - 03/26/13 08:32 AM

Visual only

I like my 100mm F9 but I would love to own 6" ED F9 with very good micro-motion altazimuth mount. It would be max weight that I can carry to outside from my garage. I dont like heavy mount like german type mount with weight.

5" F8 or 9 great
6" F9 is super for me It would be good for everything from bright deep sky object, planets, moon, double stars and some faint deep sky objects.

7" and up is too big and heavy and $$$$!
7" F6.5 maybe!


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Mark Costello
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5757806 - 03/26/13 09:53 AM

Quote:

Mark, is your self-imposed 5" or 5.5" limit based on assumptions about the possible color correction of larger faster scopes? You mentioned the C6R in your preface, and that's a pretty long OTA at f/8. There are 6" achromats at f/6.5 and f/5.9 as well. What if you could get a 6" f/5.9 achromat with color correction comparable to that of a 5" f/9 ED doublet, all for a "reasonable" price (say $2500 for sake of argument). Such a scope would ride comfortably on a CGEM/Atlas class mount and in a pinch could make due with a Sirius or CG5.

Would that make you more interested in something larger?

Thanks!

- Jim





Hi Jim, sorry for the late response.

Sorry also for any confusion about my reference to the C150R as a refractor I was considering. I meant the 6"F5 refractor Celestron was offering in the Omni-Xcel rig. I was considering it as an alternative to the AR127, especially since its lens cap had a 115mm stop. But it didn't take much for the dealer (OPT) to convince me that the ES AR127 would be a better buy. In addition to the color error of a 6"F5 achro, there was the concern I had - rightly or wrongly - that very fast "mass produced" lens might have some significant other errors (e.g. spherical aberration).

Otherwise, my limit of 5-5.5" has more to do with how well and easily I can handle the optical tube assembly (OTA), set up and tear down without some accident like dropping the OTA (I've actually did this a while back with my 4" achro and had to get it replaced ) and - how a large rig might demotivate me from going out on a nice night. The Astro-Telescope 6"F5.9 and ES AR152 weigh in at about 25 lb give or take a tad, and with the needed accessories (diagonal, eyepieces, rings), might approach 30 lb. I'd rather stick with a 5" or at largest 5.5" (and here I'm thinking more of the Vixen 140NA which is very light weight).

As to color correction, I can tolerate the color error in my ES AR127. I've actually gotten a couple of pretty decent drawings of Jupiter with it this season, and it's given pretty nice images of lunar landscapes. Of course, better color correction would serve me better. But the only scenario in which I might buy a refractor with better color correction would be if - horrible dictu (as the French might say) - something happened to my ES AR127 OTA. Then in that case, I MIGHT replace it with an ED refractor. But it might not necessarily be a true apo and if I did that, it might be in the 4.5" class - 110mm-115mm. That would be in the interest of saving money and getting a manageable OTA. So a 6" ED for $2500 might not appeal to me as much as the idea of keeping my achro and matching it with a 8-11" STS Dob from Teeter or 8-9.25" HD or ACF rig for about the same amount of money....

Best regards,


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t.r.
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Mark Costello]
      #5757875 - 03/26/13 10:25 AM

You hit the mark Jim with the 180mm but I'd go with f/9...similar to the Meade 178ED. I got to play with one of these a couple of times and put it through its paces. It did show CA, but I didn't think it was knocking contrast at all and I could live with the amount produced. I know a group of us had a GREAT time binoviewing through it at various targets. The idea of a 7"F/9 Ed doublet is right on the mark for a purely visual SLAP observer. I have stated my interest in such a scope many times on CN and have discussed custom builds with Markus and Robert Royce. But, custom costs! Markus has hinted that if the 152 doublets take off, a 7" could be next...the price and color correction is what is left to be seen. The 152 I think is a pretty good product, but why not just go a touch bigger to the 7" class, which I had no issues weilding, and get a little more oomphf for planetary and good reach for DSO's all in one package. A 7" doublet ED is on my short list...if only someone made it! And yes, I've looked at the Aries, but it is a one-off.

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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: t.r.]
      #5757888 - 03/26/13 10:32 AM

Hi t.r.

Any reason you'd want f/9 if you could get an f/6 with at least as good and possibly superior color correction to the f/9 (and obviously a much easier to mount size and mass)?

Regards,

Jim


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Sean Puett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758034 - 03/26/13 11:46 AM

I would like the fastest possible with good color correction. I like petzvals but, I believe that they would end up way above the targeted price. With the Vixen NA140 as a starting place, could a 160-170 be done for 50% or less added to the price? Then add a chromacorr type device. Then you could have a flat field f5. The scope would be longer and heavier than a standard scope of that size and focal ratio. Or you could add a ed element to the flattener/reducer like on the TV petzvals. It has to be too expensive or they would make them now, don't you think?
Ok so some reality has hit me regarding the 6"f5.9 with chromacorr. There would still be field curvature that needs to be dealt with. I have become to intolerant of edge issues and that would keep me from buying unless dealt with.


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Eddgie
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758090 - 03/26/13 12:18 PM

The three most important letters in the telescope making business are not APO.

They are "ROI."

Not to try to divert the thread, but I could see exactly what you were trying to find out from the very beginning.

Please, no offense intended.

I did business in China for 10 years, and I have people over there dying to make something for me.

The sad reality is that when I have had ideas and done business cases for them, the economics simply were not there to justify the return on the investment required (ROI).

I see questions like "Why don't they make _____________ ?"on these forums all the time.

And the reason is because what is a hobby to us is a business to them.

The road-side is littered with the empty husks of companies that have tried to get into a niche market and failed.

Why would someone take valuable resources from producing thousands of __________ a year to produce a few hundred 6" refractors a year when they can only make a few hundred dollars on each one?

The answer is because a few hundred dollars of profit on each one doesn't make it worth doing.

That is always the stumbling point in my own business cases. I am not going to put a big up-front manufacturing cost on my books for a few hundred units (about the minimum anyone will make for me) only to make a few thousand dollars in profit.

And if it is something you think you want to do, just be willing to write the check, and you can get someone to produce your design, but do the math, and what you will find is that the risk is simply to high.

Bottom line? There are easier ways to make money for these companies, and most of the people on this forum will not have the stomach for the risk. I am a pretty good investor, and I would rather put my money at risk in the stock market. For what I would need to put up front to make a 6" ED scope in quantities needed to get it produced, I could get more dividend payment for the money from my oil stocks than I could earn in profit on the units I would sell. Why would I want to sell my oil stock to do it?.

Edited by Eddgie (03/26/13 12:29 PM)


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5758233 - 03/26/13 01:18 PM

That's not quite right. There are plenty of examples of specialty businesses that do not optimize with respect to ROI. A-P is a prime example. They could grow to make more scopes and make more money. They could raise the price of the scopes without changing production capacity, and make more money. The mega-year waitlist proves this.

Optimized ROI is a driver for large scale, mass-production businesses, but for businesses serving niche markets with educated consumers, not as much. Specialty producers are as often motivated by the personal satisfaction of the owner/operator as they are the bottom line. If the products are good, the bottom line pretty much takes care of itself.

Kunming seems to be having no trouble selling 6" achromats. At ~$900 a pop I suspect that the rebrander offering the scopes it pocketing a few hundred dollars per unit. Figure the cost per unit in lots of 10 or 20 might be $500 or $600.

Now what if small shop optics expert "Company X" can make a false color correction device that greatly reduces the CA of this $600 scope, for, say $1200 per unit in cost? At $3000 the bundle (scope plus CA corrector) has $1200 margin per unit built in for the bundler. Sell all 20 of them and that's $24k profit. Sell 200 per year and that's $240k profit. Move 1000 units and you've put $1.2 million in the bank. For context, you'd be undercutting the APM FK-61 doublet by a grand at a $3k price and assuming similar or better color correction and comparable figure quality, doable? A visual only user looking at one of the 127-130mm triplets (AT, TMB SS, WO, ES127, Meade 130, etc.) for $1.6k to $4k could for similar money have your easy to mount 6-incher instead. How low would the price of the bundle need to be to be totally disruptive of the "visual user market for mid-aperture ED doublets and triplets"?

Now supplement the $1200 bread & butter margins on the off-the-shelf 6" with some more custom 7" and 8" scopes following the same profile. Your color corrector cost remains the same. Only the cost of the optic and tube assembly goes up.

I dunno, I think for a small business, potentially there's a solid business opportunity there. Not so much for a Kunming, JOC, Synta, etc., though, who has to move thousands of units to keep the lights on.

- Jim


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De Lorme
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758260 - 03/26/13 01:30 PM

Jim, I asked Alex at Istar if he would consider making a
8" f/6 lens since there are so many of us who have a Atlas
or a Cgem mount that it would work on. Waiting to see what he says on the Istar telescope forum. De Lorme


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: De Lorme]
      #5758409 - 03/26/13 03:04 PM

Istar OTAs are awfully heavy (well-built, but too much material for what I have in mind - and I don't like the truss design!). An 8" f/6 is a big, heavy OTA I'm not sure even a lightweight build would ride comfortably on an Atlas. Maybe, but maybe not.

- Jim


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t.r.
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758449 - 03/26/13 03:25 PM

Quote:

Hi t.r.

Any reason you'd want f/9 if you could get an f/6 with at least as good and possibly superior color correction to the f/9 (and obviously a much easier to mount size and mass)?

Regards,

Jim




No particular reason at all...I'm just assuming it can't be done at F/6 easily or cost effectively, so knowing that the F/9 has already been done in the past (Meade) it could be done again today with maybe a little tweaking(glass types, spacing, magic) for improvement. If the particular sample I played with didn't have the SA it displayed...I'd own it today!


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Eddgie
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758533 - 03/26/13 04:01 PM

In marketing, there is the theory of a "Temporary Monolopy." (I follow this stuff pretty closely). It says that the first company to enter the market for product will enjoy the most profit per sample of the product. AP did more to popularize the APO than any other company on the planet and they are reaping the rewards of having had a temporary monolopy.

Also, AP scopes are far from "ED scopes with medium levels of color correction." Their scopes are state of the art units that take no prisoners in terms of optical quality. They are almost without question, the finest astrographs that money can buy.

APs niche is not the mass produced ED visual refractor. Mr. Christen and I had a discussion about this about 8 years ago, and he indicated that he wanted nothing to do with that market. In fact, he said he did not think it could be profitable if the quality was expected to be world class.

Good luck with your market research, and should you try, with the effort.

Remember though that having achromats made in China almost bankrupted Burgess Optics (total disaster).

And remember that the Meade ED scopes were a market failure.


But maybe you have the magic dust that this kind of market venture would require. Good luck.


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: t.r.]
      #5758580 - 03/26/13 04:21 PM

I'm thinking more conventional achromatic doublet and something like a Chromacorr rather than an ED doublet or triplet design, so yep "magic" covers it.

Regards,

Jim


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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758624 - 03/26/13 04:43 PM

De Lorme - Istar does make an f5.9 8" as a comet hunter: Phoenix WFT 204-6

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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5758638 - 03/26/13 04:50 PM

"AP did more to popularize the APO than any other company on the planet and they are reaping the rewards of having had a temporary monolopy."

Better ask Ford Mo Co about that theory.

Actually A-P really never did much to exploit its brief period of duopoly with Takahashi (Tak debuted fluorite scopes in 1981 - the same year A-P first placed an ad in S&T).

Today A-P has loads of competition. If anyone took advantage of early entry it was Takahashi. Taks, unlike A-Ps, have always had reasonable availability, so much more of a "big business" model. In fact, the availability of the TOA-150 relative to the unavailability of large A-P scopes today (or even small ones, for that matter) has allowed Takahashi, not A-P, to garner additional monopolist-like margin per unit. $11k for a 6-inch ED triplet is pretty rich and reasonable availability of 130mm+ A-P scopes would certainly dilute that rich margin. A-P's lack of aggressive business optimization also opened the door for TEC. TEC is a quasi-A-P business model but without ridiculously long waitlists. Tak's shadow is LZOS and its branders.

A-P operates like an artisanal business rather than a post-industrial one. The labor of love versus the quest to grow profits and volumes.

I also think Burgess has had other issues beyond supplier problems. Plenty of other companies seem to be able to make money selling Chinese-made scopes. That suggests that the problems were as much inside the walls as out.

The responses here are more likely to be of use to pros who are already in or looking seriously at entering this market. For me, big, easily mountable, unobstructed, reasonably high quality, reasonable visual color correction and greater affordability than like aperture (i.e., 5" and 6") mass-produced FPL-53 ED triplets, represent a combination of properties that would disrupt buying patterns in the market for visual use refractors.

If a visual user could by a 7-incher with decent correction for the same price as a 5-incher with CCD-adequate color correction, and be able to use it on the same mount as the 5-incher, who would buy the 5 incher? This is more about taking market share away from existing participants in the market than creating an entirely new market. Kinda like iPhone did to RIMM, Moto and Erickson. A total blind-side-run-over-by-a-bus-that-didn't-even-ghost-its-brakes. The iFrac.

- Jim


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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758738 - 03/26/13 05:41 PM

Let's see:

1: Both. I'm about 60/40 imaging/visual.

2: I figure big is anything I can't handle by myself. Why? Anything that is really bigger will probably be a pain to setup.

3: I would prefer it to be about the same. Some color is not to bothersome to me.

4: The max on any refractor for me to spend would be 5-6K if funds were available.

5: I don't care who manufactures the scope. As long as the quality is there.

6: I would rather have it sooner rather than later even if I could save a few dollars. If I'm already spending 5-6k, a few saved dollars won't matter to much to me.

7: I think that would be great. Reducing weight is always good. As long as quality is not sacrificed I would be happy. I'd also be willing to pay a little more for weight reduction.

8: I think this would be nice.

9: Also a nice option. A good way to reduce weight and make a potential scope more portable.

10: As long as cost does not go up to much it would be desirable.


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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5758764 - 03/26/13 05:55 PM

I just copied your questions and put my answers underneath:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Both- I love the AP130EDFGT in both modes.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

I am interested in the 152-160mm class. I'd go up to 180 if it was the right scope, but the mobility concerns are pretty scary as it is.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

I've used quite a few scopes, and I find the CA is pretty distracting- not because it's there, but because it shifts colors. For example, M45 in a scope with great color correction is absolutely dazzling.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

Let me start by saying this is like a life-decision class instrument for me. I'm not rolling in money, so the benchmark for this is the scope has to be really outstanding. Since instruments in that class aren't trivial to make, I'm going to guess there won't be a bunch of sizes available. So, in order of interest:

(ii) $8-10K
(i) $7-8K
(iii) $17-$20k
(iv) ~25K?

Discussion for fairness: I've spent some time talking to Roland as well, and he's doing this as a mission. He wants to get some good glass out in the world and get it used. In a way, everyone who gets one is a bit of an experiment by him to see what we will do with it. If we get it out and used, that's what he wanted to see happen. So, it's largely being done at cost. While it is somewhat commonly said AP could ramp up or charge more, I've investigated market penetration by two of the most parallel scopes available- the AP 130EDFGT and the TeleVue NP-127. The TV is slightly more and always available, but has half as many OTAs shipped. So please don't think it's a given any price can be charged or any quantity can be sold.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

If that means the optics were optimized for the glass as delivered for that group of telescopes, then ensured the final quality met the design, then YES. If it's a design off of the catalog values, then it's impossible to get to AP type performance, no matter who designed it, so this is less important.

As for where the glass came from, again, I am going to have to go by the results. I'd be happiest if if was keeping someone in the business who was interested in delivering this hardware rather than someone who had some totally unrelated bread-and-butter and had done this as a lark. But with that said, it may not be such a bad thing if a refractor equivalent of Questar came into being, so it's not like I would refuse to get a scope if that were the case.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

If the quality were available at a reasonable price, that's a huge point. I don't know that I'd happily do another 9 year wait, but I'd understand if they weren't sitting in a warehouse waiting for the phone to ring.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

This would be extremely enabling. Weight is a really big problem for mobility. Yeah, there are bigger ones of everything. More weight. More setup time. Fewer observing sessions. Lots of money. But beware- triplet lens cells are very heavy.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

This is a good idea. If they could be creatively multipurposed pier extensions, then it's a great idea.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

I'm an f/7 and under lover, mobile, and always time compressed. If it needs these, I know I won't be using it much.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

Yes- this is a huge benefit. Maintenance, transport, damage avoidance, repair, modification, or reconfiguration all become vastly easier if you use this approach. Also keep in mind even if the vehicle is a Ford Expedition, some of us would like to bring others/ incorporate observing into another trip.

OK, so what are you up to?

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (03/26/13 06:04 PM)


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ManuelJ
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5759650 - 03/27/13 07:14 AM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Both, but more interested in visual part

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

Between 7" and 9". This is the point where planetary images begin to get serious.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

A tiny bit of violet haze like the one found in NP series, or the spherocromatism of the Traveler is fine.
I'm more worried about the current trend of correcting in the blue, check related threads.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

150 -> 8k
160 -> 10k
180 -> 15k
200 -> 20k

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

Yes, I would not pay even a dollar from a chinese figuring.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

No problem in waiting.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

The less the weight, the better. Excellent!.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

I don't care.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

Don't care, again.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

No, thanks. A big apo is something not exactly born to carry around.


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russell23
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5759840 - 03/27/13 09:31 AM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? Visual
(2) How big is "big enough" and why? 7" or 8" because they would provide a ~60-100% jump over my current 5.5" refractor.
(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse? I'm good with the level of color in the Vixen 140mm when used with a Baader Fringe Killer - but I mostly observe deep sky objects.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

Depends upon the design. For me, after using the Vixen 140 Petzval refractor, I don't think I could go with a non-Petzval design. I also can't answer this question in the sense that any realistic price to market a larger refractor is beyond my current ability to afford. But in general if I think about it I think I would be willing to pay ~ $5000 for a 7-8" refractor. Since an ED refractor could not be manufactured at that price and size what I would want won't ever exist.
(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? Not necessarily.
(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer? I can wait.
(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

Yes - light materials would make it manageable to mount.
(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

Yes - and how about a beefy Alt-azimuth mount too.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies? No.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)? No.

Here is what I would like: 7" F/7 doublet Petzval refractor. It can be an achro because I'll just throw a Fringe Killer on it. If it can be made with any kind of ED glass that helps reduce CA while still keeping the cost down then that would be great too. I think the Vixen 140mm NA is a great deep sky refractor and I'd love to have a 7" F/7 version available. I'd take an 8" F/7 too.

Dave


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Sean Puett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: russell23]
      #5759859 - 03/27/13 09:44 AM

I knew I liked you Dave. Mine would end up a bit faster but, I could deal with f7 and that would just make color correction that much easier.

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tomcody
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: AntarcticDave]
      #5759861 - 03/27/13 09:46 AM

Jim,
I think both StellerVue and Istar (which seems to closely match what you are saying in their production ARE in this market, Stellervue with outsourced lens and Istar with a design philosophy that, to me, seem to be trying to bring reasonably priced scopes to the market. It also seems to me, that Istar is not selling as well as it could be even though the price is right , the scopes reasonably light and the idea of a nearly APO (forgive me as I really don't what to properly call one of these Acro ? APO? not fully corrected scopes),
But my point, if the market is there as you perceive it? why hasn't Istar done better? I personally would have expected them to sell every scope and have a waiting list by now. ( And as a case in point there is a Istar 6" R30 on AM that the owner could not sell even at what I think was a "deal you can't refuse" price and now has it on auction on AM).
So, what do you think Istar is not doing right to meet your idea of a scope to dominate the market?
Rex

Edited by tomcody (03/27/13 09:48 AM)


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Jeff B
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5759919 - 03/27/13 10:16 AM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager? : Visual

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?: 11" F12, biggest that will fit in my 16'X16' observatory and the mount can handle.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse? : Yes, my bench marks for comparisons are 3" and 4" F15 achromats.
(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. ) : Don't know really
(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe? Yes, provides confidence for me.
(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer? Time under a year or so is not that important. I can wait to get what I want.
(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm? : All for it.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA? : All for it.
(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies? : All for it.
(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)? : Sure but it's got to look really cool
Thanks in advance for playing along. I have my opinions on these items, but would rather share them after others have had a chance to give their views.

Regards,

Jim

Jim: I prefer slower focal ratios as well, like F8 and slower.

Nice thread.

Jeff


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tomcody
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5760026 - 03/27/13 11:22 AM

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Visual only now, imaging while nice is too time intensive.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

4" but prefer 5" or 6", either provides enough light and reach while being able to be carried and mounted easily.

(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

I prefer an APO (Tak FS series provides the best balance between weight and quality of view).

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )

6 to 7K would be my limit for a 150-160, forget anything bigger, too much work.

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

Only if the resale would be better!

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

Yes, in stock or nearly there matters. (waited 10 years for an AP, won't do that again!)

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

I think the state of the art is already there in manufacturing, Tak FS series are about as light as it gets, and the ES CF 5" and 6" are about all you could ask for in a lightweight triplet. ( dosen't Istar already use a lightweight exotic metal is some of their cells). If the scope gets too light is will be delicate.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

Already done, go the AP web site and look for piers - you will be referred to ATS, they can supply anything you want, other manufactures can do the same or start competing with them.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

Who? What? Come on its not 1860 anymore!

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

Don't see the need, if the dew shield is removable or slides and the focuser can be removed like the FT series ( and a factory plug inserted in the hole like FT offers) then the OTA on most scopes would be short enough as is without adding weight of a joint to it to be carried in most small cars ( I know, I am measuring Mini Coopers and Smart Cars to see if my 5" rig will fit in them now, so far everything fits except in the Mini convertible as the top steals too much room from the trunk). Forester? if you have a problem packing that? Buy a van).


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: tomcody]
      #5760046 - 03/27/13 11:36 AM

"But my point, if the market is there as you perceive it? why hasn't Istar done better?"

Well there are a couple possibilities. Either (i) the market isn't really there or (ii) star isn't all you perceive it to be or rather your perception of their offerings differs from the majority's. I note that D&G has multi-year wait-lists by comparison and is selling plain old large achromats at prices similar to Istar's. Perhaps if you start to analyze differences in the two company's optics and offerings an explanation as to why one vendor can't sell what it has and the other can't make enough quickly enough to satisfy demand will emerge.

What I wish existed were large refractors with much, much better color correction than Synta, JOC, Kunming, Istar or D&G achromats, offered at prices similar to if not lower than their achromat offerings of comparable aperture, and in length and mass configurations suitable for placing on a mid-ranged mount (CGEM, Atlas, etc.).

SCTs sell not because they are good optically relative to other designs (they aren't - you need almost perfect mirrors in a 33% CO scope to achieve mere diffraction limited performance (0.80 Strehl) at the eyepiece), but because they are compact and a fairly large aperture SCT fits on an economically priced mount (Celestron sells the C11 on the CG5-GT for instance). If you could match the level of convenience of an 8" to 12" SCT OTA with unobstructed optics that consistently deliver better than diffraction limited performance at the eyepiece, with color correction similar to a moderately slow FPL-51 ED doublet of like aperture, I think you might have a disruptive technology on your hands capable of eroding the market share of SCTs, big achros and mid-sized to large apochromats, at least among visual users.

Astronomy is not a growing pie. It's a static or shrinking pie. The way to flourish in a mature or contracting market is to come up with new products that take market share away from other market participants. Cheap Dobs and Newts are the real "competition" I think for such a refractor. But cheap Dobs and Newts have their own inconveniences.

In any case, it's fun to think about.

Regards,

Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: AntarcticDave]
      #5760053 - 03/27/13 11:38 AM

I like that. Now if it was guaranteed and independently tested to have a figure quality of 0.93 Strehl or better, and had a $1000 to $2000 "thingy" on the rear end that helped eliminate 50-75% of the false color, I think they'd be on to something.

Regards,

Jim


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tomcody
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5760065 - 03/27/13 11:46 AM

Jim,
Thanks for the reply. As I have never used either a D&G or an Istar I have to go on the reports of others and I have never read a single negative report on the Istars (not to say they may not exist), I just have seen positive ones.
But as I am still trying to understand what you are looking for in a scope? Could you give an example of an existing scope that meets your requirement? except for cost? As I am trying to understand if what you want exists (or can even be made ) at any cost? or just exists in theory only? Again cost is no object for your example, EDIT: But please make the example a production scope if one exists, not some one off custom that is hard to compare with anything else.
Rex

Edited by tomcody (03/27/13 11:53 AM)


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russell23
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Sean Puett]
      #5760182 - 03/27/13 12:45 PM

Quote:

I knew I liked you Dave. Mine would end up a bit faster but, I could deal with f7 and that would just make color correction that much easier.




That's what I was thinking. Ok, so two votes for a Vixen 180mm Neo-achro. Any others?

Dave


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FirstSightModerator
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: russell23]
      #5760447 - 03/27/13 02:18 PM

QUERY: How many refractors *combined* have the higher-quality refractor makers (Televue, Astro-Physics, Takahashi, TEC, ok let's include Stellarvue) ever sold? Let's also ask the same question, but restricted to:
a) 100mm refractors and over;
b) 125mm refractors and over;
c) each size category, restricted to just APO refractors.

I seem to recall a thread just over a year ago in which various contributors tried to estimate how many refractors Televue had ever sold, according to serial numbers, and how many NP-101 refractors in particular there were. I can't remember the exact number, but the estimate was a surprisingly modest total.

A REASONABLE POINT to start from in estimating the most optimistic potential size of the market for big refractors is whatever number total have ever been sold so far of these types. To note that it's a "niche market" is not of itself a sufficiently accurate predictor of whether there's nevertheless enough potential demand for someone to sustainably exploit, absent at least roughly accurate historical quantitative data about what the size of this niche actually is. Granted, there's a steady trickle of new entrants into the astronomy hobby, including folks with means to buy larger refractors if they wish, but OTOH I doubt there's any huge untapped well of potential demand on the horizon.

Edited by FirstSight (03/27/13 02:31 PM)


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hfjacinto
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5760467 - 03/27/13 02:30 PM

Chris,

I was thinking the same exact thing. There aren't that many, I think with the MP101 they should 1000.

I think the TEC 140 serial number was in the 700's.

Compared to SCT's I believe there are more SCT's out there then probably all high end refractors combined.


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Starhawk
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5760521 - 03/27/13 02:49 PM

I took delivery of the 1000th TV NP-101 (SN2001) in December, 2011.

But yes- the numbers on the high end stuff are useful to compile to get some idea of what we are really talking about, here.

-Rich


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FirstSightModerator
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5760611 - 03/27/13 03:28 PM

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a 100mm+ refractor in every family's garage across North America? BUT WAIT! there sort of actually IS a huge proliferation of refractors in family garages across North America. OH, WAIT AGAIN! unfortunately, they're nearly all $99 department-store refractors gathering cobwebs after three or four frustrating attempts to actually use them. And we're back to the relatively small numbers of high-quality 100mm or larger refractors there actually are out there.

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tomcody
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5760656 - 03/27/13 03:51 PM

Quote:

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a 100mm+ refractor in every family's garage across North America?




OR, what if Foxconn becomes a subcontractor of Jinghau Optics and ramps up to produce 20 or 30 million Explore Scientific ED152 CF triplets in time for Christmas at a retail price of $699. Nice thought? or scary nightmare?


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Starhawk
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5760746 - 03/27/13 04:31 PM

I totally agree. It took from August, 2001 to December, 2011, to sell 1000 NP-101s. That's 100 per year. And at the price, we aren't talking about Al Nagler going out and founding new university departments with the proceeds. It's more like the profits took care of some of the overhead at TV. Note TMB caps at 100 per year of their makes. In years when Roland is making scopes, he is shipping more, but that's literally with the poor guy staying up to 10-11PM every night working on lens cells.

Yuri didn't even bring any refractors to ASAE- he was hoping to avoid getting more orders (think about it).

Tak is apparently able to order glass as needed on demand from their primes- quite a wonderful position to be in, but one without an obvious equal here.

In a way, it sounds to me like Jim is proposing to be another Markus Ludes.

-Rich


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herrointment
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5760807 - 03/27/13 05:01 PM

Was zur Hölle!

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Robo-bob
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: herrointment]
      #5761057 - 03/27/13 07:00 PM

Didn't APM make some large (8"+) achros just a few short years ago?
They stopped as I assume they did not sell well.


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Sean Cunneen
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Robo-bob]
      #5761069 - 03/27/13 07:09 PM

I've had my scope at maybe 8 star parties and I haven't had anyone make an offer yet. Most say "only if I were younger" or "How often do you take THAT MONSTROSITY out?!?!" Never, "here's $6k, my trunk is over there!" So contrary to what many have posted here, I don't believe their true to their opinions. I don't think anyone here would impulse buy a scope priced higher than $1k.

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Starhawk
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Robo-bob]
      #5761096 - 03/27/13 07:23 PM

Yeah- it's a little disconcerting. But this situation exists outside of amateur astronomy if you look around. Instead of being surprised by this, perhaps we should, instead, start asking why we hear so much talk in every sector claiming every market is limitless- if you sell for less, you will sell more.

But in real life, it really isn't true. And never, ever, has been. So, it looks like a cumulative average market of about ~500 4"+ APO telescopes exists. It gets smaller fast at the larger end for a lot of reasons- they need room, they need time, and they need an expensive roost. It's actually pretty amazing that many can be absorbed by the astronomy community per year, since they appear to have about a 15 year active service life in their first incarnations, meaning there would be an active installed base of some 7500 high end refractor astronomy instruments. And considering their second and third lives, probably 1.5 times that. Remember, a lot of these end up dormant. I'd expect SCTs to be an order of magnitude more numerous at least. Those are pretty mainstream in comparison. Note there are about 60,000 CN members, so these totals seem to hold up.

And there are untold numbers of little scopes. You know, Jim, if you could arrange a way for those first attempts at astronomy to go well, that's what would change all of this.

-Rich


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5761244 - 03/27/13 08:30 PM

"In a way, it sounds to me like Jim is proposing to be another Markus Ludes."

Careful. There are defamation laws in this country. But at least you had the decency not to call me a "Vic Maris", so I forgive you.

I'm not proposing anything. I'm merely flushing out opinions and preferences from potential buyers of large refractors.

But I owe the thread my answers to the questions. Here they are:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Visual only. Though I may start dabbling with imaging if my eyes get any more strained.

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?

For a refractor, the "big enough" question is a tricky onw for me. Based on what's been available so far (doublets, triplets and Petzvals) I'd say that length, mass and mounting requirements limit visual users like my who often travel with their scopes to about 6" at the top end. But if there was a 7" or 8" OTA comparable in length to say a 6" f/8 or faster OTA, that could be carried successfully for visual on a mid-capacity, mass-produced mount like an Atlas, then I'd want it. Basically, I want as large an aperture of a refractor as I can mount on a cheap driven mount and fit in the cargo area of my vehicle.


(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?

For visual use, I think the 5" f/9 Meade KF3/FK01 doublet was just fine in the color correction department. I'm sensitive to but also tolerant of false color, and that scope was about perfect in terms of the level of color correction I'd accept as a compromise. Or maybe even a wee little bit worse color correction would do. It wouldn't make an imager happy, but even at high magnifications (40x+ per inch) it wasn't too intrusive aesthetically nor damaging to planetary image quality in any obvious way.

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a:

(i) 150mm? $2000

(ii) 160mm? $3500

(iii) 180mm? $5000

(iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher.) $6500

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

For me? Yeah. It would give me piece of mind if the designer/lens maker is someone folks like Roland Christen have worked with and subcontracted to. Also, I'd love to know that a skilled optics fabricator actually had a look at the optics and thought that they were good enough to put his name on. Others think have the principal of rebrander inspect optics that he neither designed nor manufactured adds value. To me that's a little like asking the plumber to have a look at your wiring. On the other hand, optics inspected by someone who is actually qualified to do so has huge value to me.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?

Instant gratification is a wonderful thing. These things are needless things in the sense that they are purely recreational. Such items are as often as not subject to impulse buying. The manufacturer will hook more fish if the buyer can put one in the cart and buy it when the mood strikes. You know, before he or she cools off and reason returns.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?

See, I think this is key. Big refractor optics are heavy on their own. Anything the manufacturer can do to bring the weight (and length for that matter) down for ease of transport and mounting, assuming the performance minimums are met (better than diffraction limited; color correction on par with an f/9 5" ED doublet), would make the instrument a no brainer choice over SCTs and Newts of equivalent capabilities (note, a 9.25" refractor would obliterate a 9.25" SCT in performance - a C9.25 puts through about as many well-placed photons as a 7" refractor). To me conquering the convenience challenge is the key to making refractors the best choice rather than a compormise choice (better image quality and other virtues at the expense of aperture/light grasp).

I have a 105/1500 Antares achromat (that's actually stopped down by poor cell design to about 95mm of clear aperture), and it has a six and a half foot long tube. Now that star javelin of a tube only weighs about 10# fully dressed. Despite the big moment arm, a CG5 head on a pier can handle it. That's a $550 mount coping with a two meter long tube. It can be done if the build is light enough.


(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

This is the other side of the "make it smaller and lighter coin" Perhaps it's not possible to make refractors of the target performance spec short enough to ride on an unadulterated CGEM class mount. If that's the case, fix the problem another way. Lift the eyepiece height up by bypassing the stock tripod.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies?

Similar to the pier idea, above, if the tube has to be on the longish side, anything the maker can bundle with it to enable use of a cheap mid-capacity mount would be well worth it. If you can build them to run on CGEMs and Atlases, you can tap into a huge pre-existing market of owners of those mounts. Each penny spent on a suitable mount is another penny the buyer no longer had in the budget for the refractor.

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?

Heck yeah. Provided the durability and precision were there. It would have to remain in perfect collimation after disassembled and reassembled. But if it has to be long enough to have to pass between the front seats when the focuser is in the boot/trunk, it'd be better broken in two or three easy pieces.

Inch per inch, nothing beats a refractor. The problem historically has been that inches of refractor aperture have come at a dear price both in terms of cost and loss of convenience. Ergo, if you delivered large refractors that were really more like mid aperture SCTs in deep sky capabilities and mounting livability, all at a price a fraction of the historical price for such an instrument (maybe 2x the price of an equivalent SCT), visual users would not be buying SCTs and instead would be buying your refractors.

Regards,

Jim


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Napersky
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5761367 - 03/27/13 09:38 PM

Quote:

I'd like to do an informal poll getting your preferences for large refractors. By large, I mean 150mm and larger. Things I'm interested in are the following:

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?

Visual but always learning imaging.
(2) How big is "big enough" and why?



(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm? (That's not a typo - yeah, an 8-incher. )



(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?

Always a plus. LZOS have some of the very best independent test reports.

Jim,

I am a fan of big big refractors as I have never been able to match the views of the 18" F16 Alvan Clark Dearborn refractor of Saturn. It is my opinion that nothing matches planetary viewing like a long focal length large lens well figured refractor.

I purchased an 8" Zeiss AS lens, never used or mounted a couple years ago and had it tested by Wolfgang Rohr in Germany. I flew to Germany with my mom to meet Wolfgang who was a gracious host to us and showed us the sites on a wonderful trip and flew home with my lens.

Needless to say the lens cost some money. And although it's not an APO it does correct in 3 colors: Green, Yellow (typical Fraunhoffer doublet correction) plus RED. It does not bring blue into focus.

This scope is a long focal length 120" (10 feet) so I have planned it for a long term project as for a while I will not be able to afford a mount for it.

This scope and it's mount are the limits of my budget. The mount may cost from $3,000 to $12,000 alone. Not to mention an observatory for it.

I am the greatest fan of Astro Physics scopes as well and would love to see Roland produce 8" and 10" scopes. I believe he will have no problem finding buyers at $25,000 to $50,000 or less for a new instrument.

Mark

Edited by Napersky (03/27/13 09:54 PM)

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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Napersky]
      #5761421 - 03/27/13 10:06 PM

Hi Mark.

Yeah, there is a lot to be said for slowing optics down; particularly refractor optics. And there's no question that a big refractor under a dome is a stately thing of beauty, but at this stage in my existence on this planet, I'm not in a place where it would make sense for me to settle down at a single observing site, hence my dream of big, reasonably well-corrected, fast, stubby, easily mountable refractors.

I really want to round up a group of glassheads and rent the Great Lick on Mount Hamilton for a night. I just don't want to own it. Yet. But if I were ever to acquire one of the great achromats, you had better believe I'd be working with ARIES to build a chromacorr optimized for the old girl.

Regards,

Jim


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Jeff B
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5762137 - 03/28/13 10:35 AM

Quote:

Yeah, there is a lot to be said for slowing optics down; particularly refractor optics.
Quote:



Amen Jim. CA reduction scales roughly linearly with focal ratio for a given design ahromat but spherochromatism and higher order stuff reductions scale something like to the square of the aperture ratio. So an F9 achromat will have about a 30% reduction in CA but only 1/3rd the amount of spherochromatism as an F6.
Quote:



Quote:

...my dream of big, reasonably well-corrected, fast, stubby, easily mountable refractors.
Quote:



My experience is that an 8" F9 achromat is about the practical limit for a one guy overhead dead lift into a set of rings and still be usable on a G11/CGE class mount. For a triplet, the max is a 7" F8.

My APM 7" F8 weighs in at 39 pounds, bare naked (no rings, nothing). It's very nose heavy but I can actually lift it overhead and place it into the mounting rings but the tail end sticks way out. I then assemble diagonal & bino viewer, push the tube forward, then attach the finder/counterpoise weight/aft ring assembly and further push the tube forward in the rings to balance it out. It requires a very narrow process to assemble, and dissassemble, the tube assembly by just me. And at 2 AM being tired, it's not fun taking it apart either. My G11 can actually handle the 7" quite well but the AP 900GTO will be an ideal match. In contrast, my 6" F8 APM triplet I can mount as an entire assembly, weighing in at ~35 pounds. That 5 pounds means a lot at 2 AM.

I'm current working on an 8" F9 achromat ATM build with a goal of keeping the bare tube assembly weight under 35 pounds. We'll see how that goes.

Jeff

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Gord
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Jeff B]
      #5762159 - 03/28/13 10:49 AM

Jeff,

What 8" F9 are you building around?

Thanks,


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Sean Puett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5762307 - 03/28/13 12:26 PM

One more reason for a ratio closer to f7. Brandons. If we are going to have these nice large refractors, it would be nice to be able to use Brandons at full potential. I am fine with their performance above f6.1 so f6.5 might be a good place for still keeping the tube short and being able to enjoy less glass.

So what happened to the chromacorr anyway? Why aren't they, or something similar available anymore? I think I could possibly get by with an ar152 and chromacorr if that was an easily available combination. So maybe this is what is taking place right now. People buy the 6" achros and semi apo or fringe killer and say "good enough". So a part of the target market are going to have to want an upgrade from what they have and the rest are going to be either newer to the hobby or the scope will have to be light and easily handled enough to convert people with a refractor size limit.


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jrbarnett
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Sean Puett]
      #5762382 - 03/28/13 01:12 PM

I still find f/7 to be tough for Brandons. Especially the 24mm with its wider AFOV. Plenty of off axis astigmatism at f/7. I don't think Brandons become "optimal" until f/8 or slower, unless you're Barlowing them, in which case they do alright at f/6 even.

- Jim


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Jeff B
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Gord]
      #5762406 - 03/28/13 01:29 PM

Quote:

Jeff,

What 8" F9 are you building around?

Thanks,




It, I believe, came from "that other China".

It looks pretty good in double pass with a 110 LPI screen so I decided to put a tube assembly around it. I'm using 9" OD, .050" wall Hastings tubing and an AP 2.7" focuser. Counter cell and focuser back plate with be custom from .75" AL plate. Baffling (at least 3 of them) will be vented to help manage tube currents and sized to give me a fully illuminated field of ~40 MM. Bino-friendly of course.

I'll start posting in the ATM forum.

Jeff


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Gord
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Jeff B]
      #5762427 - 03/28/13 01:43 PM

Doh!!! You're doing it to me again... all this talk of building big refractors is giving me an itch to do another one! A-P focusers and all the nice parts too!

To Jim's point in this thread, I think this is the most ideal way to go for a large visual refractor. A good quality achromat and a corrector. Imagers have different requirements, but I'm not sure $15-30K for an APO is the best solution for us visual observers.

Maybe we should petition Valery to start making Chromacor's again

Clear skies,


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galaxyman
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5762459 - 03/28/13 01:58 PM Attachment (30 downloads)

Hi Jim

It's an interesting topic.

I'm just a DSO observer, and own some large dobs, but I was intrigued a number of years ago by a view of the Ring nebula through a Celestron 102ED at star party. So I bought my first larger (more then the 60mm as a kid) refractor as in a Orion 120mm f/8.3.

The aesthetic views of the refractor was a draw and naturally I wanted more aperture so the 6 inchers and then the 8" came to fruition.

Now I do think there is a market for quality 6" refractors, but not so much for say 8" and larger. Yes the views are great, but even at f/9 it's a serious size scope (the photo below is the 8" f/9 and the 6" f/6.5 together). Mounting (heavy duty plus expensive) and transportation is certainly needs to be considered.

In mounting a tube like this needs height of course, so your not crawling of the ground to view through the scope, so you may need a small step-ladder (as I do) to lift the tube assembly into the rings. Many would need another person to help. I use lifting straps to lift it up on the mount. Truly a Beast

There's actually more effort in getting the 8" refractor together than the 22" dob, so a refractor this size is really a specialty or luxury item, and not really something for the mass market. The 6" refractors on the other hand are.

So for many this is a bit much to handle, and of course they're costly, but I for one is hooked on large refractor views.



Karl
E.O.H.


Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.com/user/GalaxyLog4565?feature=mhee
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
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ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
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KWB
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: galaxyman]
      #5763353 - 03/28/13 10:51 PM

OK,Folks. This thread is open again for business.

Please do not stray off-topic again and let us only discuss telescopes.


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Eddgie
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5764720 - 03/29/13 01:36 PM

Or you could just do what the vast majority of professional astronomers and amateurs did in the past.

Get a reflector.

Once the aperture gets larger than about 6", the reflector walks away with the game.

It is more compact, easier to mount, more comfortable to use, and costs a lot less.

Zero color too.

Royce optics makes "The Ultimate Newtonians". The 8" version with a Parcorr will do just about everything better than a 6" APO could do except wide field imaging.

And of course this is the real reason why there is no market for large refractors. They cost to much, take to much to mount, and can be difficult to use (ergonomics).

The Newtonian killed the large refractor in the market.

There simply isn't a market for larger refractors because at larger apertures, the Newtonian is a better design.

And for good reasons.


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hfjacinto
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5764747 - 03/29/13 01:43 PM

What Eddgie said.

Although on the refractor forum it goes without saying that a premium 60MM triplet APO will SPANK a C14 and a 20" DOB.



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Eddgie
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5764823 - 03/29/13 02:08 PM

Yes, I think the Royce Ultimate Newtonian is just a better scope than even the best 6" APOs could be for general use.

And it is interesting to note that there is a 6 Month wait for the Royce.

My guess is that this is not because he is selling so many of these, but rather like any other optics business, he is keeping the doors open with other products. He probably squeezes these out as a labor of love.

Does that remind you of a famous refractor maker?

To think that a "Mass produced" 6" f/9 ED scope could be better than the Royce Ultimate Newtonian 8" is kind of a refractor-lovers pipe dream.

And this is why I would not pay much over $3800 for a 6" refractor.

Past that, and I would get the Royce 8".


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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5764878 - 03/29/13 02:31 PM

Eddgie, your thinking is my current opinion. There really has to be some kind of revolutionary type changes to make bigger than 6" refractors appeal to more people. There is a lot of times here in the refractor forum that people ask about which refractor they should buy when a newt is a better fit for what they want it to do. There is lot of newt prejudice in here.
With what is available and current pricing, I have the refractor that I want. It is 4". I would have to think about (like I recently did) buying an NP127 if it came up for sale at $3000 or so but, I really do not see myself spending Webster D14 money on a 5" refractor.
If some type of advancement happened and I could buy a 6"flat field scope with decent (think TV genesis sdf I am pretty sure you owned one, I have been wrong before) color correction under 3000, answer it was fairly light so I could use my current mount, then i might be interested.


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Eddgie
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Sean Puett]
      #5764951 - 03/29/13 03:01 PM

Well, in one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that APO were not the most important letters in the Telescope business. and that ROI was.

These companies can't devote factory space and equipment to a low volume market. It would be a very poor business decision I think.

That means that the specialty manufactures pick up the slack.

And when a specialty manufacturer picks it up, they have to charge more to make it worth their time and effort.

I had my first small business at 29 years of age. It was not a happy experience.

I had thought from time to time about making a premium 8" reflector myself (before Royce entered the market) and decided that even this was a specialty market that just would not make me enough money to bother with.

It is so much easier to make money with investments.


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ValeryD
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5764981 - 03/29/13 03:15 PM

Quote:

Yes, I think the Royce Ultimate Newtonian is just a better scope than even the best 6" APOs could be for general use.

And it is interesting to note that there is a 6 Month wait for the Royce.

My guess is that this is not because he is selling so many of these, but rather like any other optics business, he is keeping the doors open with other products. He probably squeezes these out as a labor of love.

Does that remind you of a famous refractor maker?

To think that a "Mass produced" 6" f/9 ED scope could be better than the Royce Ultimate Newtonian 8" is kind of a refractor-lovers pipe dream.

And this is why I would not pay much over $3800 for a 6" refractor.

Past that, and I would get the Royce 8".




Eddgie,

During my life I have had the possibility to look through a lot of telescopes - from 2" to 104".

And I can say you, that what I saw almost constantly convince me that for lunar and planetary works refractors, include large achromats are MUCH better than even much larger reflectors.
For example, the most memorable Mars views I ever saw was through 400mm F/15 Zeiss (Jena) achromat at Abastumani Observatory in the Soviet Georgia and through 600mm F/13 Zeiss (Jena) reflector. But images in refractor were significantly more stable.

The only case when reflector, more correctly catadioptric, was in par with refractor (APO) of the same size was with 10" F/14.6 Mak-Cass.

Therefore, let me assure you, that most peoples, who wish to see planets by their own eyes consistently sharp and well defined will always wish to have larger refractor according to their pockets, back condition and availability to mount them permanently.


No one with a common sense argue with laws of physics, but we have atmosphere, not so smooth optics with aspherics, scattering light on aluminum in reflectors, the fact that reflective systems must have 4x smoother surfaces, near ground atmosphere turbulence etc etc etc.

That is all I have to say and note, my firm makes 99% incoming making reflective optics.


Valery.


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Rossmon
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5765482 - 03/29/13 06:23 PM

First off I wanted to thank Jim for this great idea of a thread. I have been reading many of the posts which is why it has taken me so long to write something. Also I am on vacation in Utah and been real busy!

(1) Are you a visual user or an imager?
visual 65% Mallincam 35%

(2) How big is "big enough" and why?
I think my recently acquired 155EDFS is big enough. Big enough to really see great stuff and still be portable without also needing a mount bigger than my medium sized G11.
(3) Using the old 127mm f/9 Meade ED doublet as a benchmark, would color correction be acceptable to you if it was about the same? A little worse?
Good as a starting point

(4) How much would you be willing to pay for a (i) 150mm?, (ii) 160mm?, (iii) 180mm?, (iv) 200mm?
I think many of the numbers quoted in previous replies are unfortunately in dreamland for finding something lately. Even what I paid just a few months ago for my 155 is now much lower than the last few sold on the mart and mine is newer and closer to museum exhibit quality than the ones sold.
So 150mm-155mm, $10K-$15k
160mm, Not worth spending more than $15K for me with such a small increase in resolution, but cannot get one for less than $17k-$21K
175mm-185mm out of my price range! $25K-up?
200mm Forget it. Just tooo big, need dreamland money for tube and a mount! I would rather upgrade my boat or sports car!

(5) Would it be a plus (in the sense that you'd be willing to pay a bit more) if the optics were designed by a well-known designer? If the optics were manufactured in Europe?
Totally a plus to know that the designer was one of the top three designers/OTA OEM's because for this kind of $$, I want it back when I sell it one day or my family inherits it.
For me, that has meant buying an AP tube only for a big investment. Possibly one of Yuri's products too. My 155 has already gone up in value by 30%. No other brand will do that. Does not mean I am selling it to realise a profit. I am an amateur astronomer first and foremost, not a telescope capitalist.

(6) Is ready availability (i.e., no more than a 3 month wait) a major plus in your view, or if the price were a bit lower, would you be willing to wait a bit longer?
I buy used, no patience for waiting more than 3-6 months for small stuff, ie lenses, cameras, mounts etc. For big tubes, I am glad it took forever to build and happy I can buy it used.

(7) What would you think about the manufacturer designing the refractors so that they use ultra-light materials (composites, magnesium and titanium fittings, etc) so that a CGEM/Atlas class EQ head could deal with the moment arm?
Sounds great in theory but a mount has to have bulk to combat wind etc.

(8) What would you think about the manufacturer offering pier assemblies of appropriate height, set up for common EQ mount heads (again Atlas, CGEM, CGE Pro, G-11, etc.), to accommodate the length of the OTA?

I love the concept, but am put off by incredibly expensive pricing for these pier thingi's.

(9) What if the manufacturer also offered hargreaves struts for the tube assemblies? Whats a hargreaves strut? Something a *BLEEP*
does? haha!

(10) Would a modular tube be desirable even if it drove up costs a significant amount (i.e., the tube breaks into 3 sections, fits in a matched hard case, and fits in the back of the average compact SUV (Forester, CR-V, RAV-4, Equinox, Escape, etc.)?
If done well they can be good, and I would enjoy having this feature, but as one fellow said already, keeping it simple with a one piece OTA has definite merits.


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Eddgie
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: ValeryD]
      #5765508 - 03/29/13 06:38 PM

Quote:

The only case when reflector, more correctly catadioptric, was in par with refractor (APO) of the same size was with 10" F/14.6 Mak-Cass.




Well, I don't recall saying that per inch of aperture a reflector would be on par with a refrector.

If I did, I mis-spoke, but since I don't hardly ever say that, then I don't think I did mis-speak.

I have always maintained that you can get the same performacne out of a slightly larger reflector than you can get out of an APO.

For example, my MN 56 was easily on par with the best 4" APOs I have owned.

My 6" MN was not much different from the 5" refractors I have owned (better than some).

Is all it takes to balance the damage form the central obstruction is a slightly larger apeture.

So, I don't think you have addressed someting I said here.

As close as I may have come was when I said that a high quality 8" f/6 reflector should give about the same contrast transfer and the best 6" APOs made.

Did not say that you could get the same performance from a reflector as you could from an equal sized refractor.

And as for the 400mm, it was also being used at an altitude of 5000 feet.

Did you happen to have a 400mm reflector of equal quality handy next to it to do a fair comparision?


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kfrederick
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5765528 - 03/29/13 06:51 PM

http://www.pitt.edu/~aobsvtry/thaw.html I got to use this 30 inch refractor on open house night . If I had the money I would have two

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De Lorme
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Reged: 12/30/08

Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: ValeryD]
      #5765536 - 03/29/13 06:56 PM

With some manufactures now making 8" F/6 lens which is about a 48" tube lenght they can sit on top of either an
Atlas or a CGEM. Yes there will be color and you won't be able to go as far as a F/9 but they will work with the equipment that they now have. For me {and I think eventually
everybody else}the convience of just sitting with no collimation problems,not having to rotate the tube to a easier viewing position and no fan issues is just great.
I'm not saying that Dobs are not great. Because they are. They just take a toll on the body over a period of time.
Because of bigger refractors coming onto the market
at an affordable cost which can now compete with larger dobs,and the concience factor I think the refractor will continue to have it's place in the market place.
Clear Skies, De Lorme


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ValeryD
Vendor (Aries)
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Reged: 11/26/05

Loc: Kherson, Ukraine.
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: De Lorme]
      #5765592 - 03/29/13 07:33 PM

Quote:

With some manufactures now making 8" F/6 lens which is about a 48" tube lenght they can sit on top of either an
Atlas or a CGEM. Yes there will be color and you won't be able to go as far as a F/9 but they will work with the equipment that they now have. For me {and I think eventually
everybody else}the convience of just sitting with no collimation problems,not having to rotate the tube to a easier viewing position and no fan issues is just great.
I'm not saying that Dobs are not great. Because they are. They just take a toll on the body over a period of time.
Because of bigger refractors coming onto the market
at an affordable cost which can now compete with larger dobs,and the concience factor I think the refractor will continue to have it's place in the market place.
Clear Skies, De Lorme




Dear De Lorme,

The only remains is to order such 8" F/6 refractor and test it on the mount you do have. This will solve all questions positively or negatively. I gave you the reading of two reviews where two guys described the way they solved the problems. You, at least will not be a pioneer. You do have two positive examples with detailed description what to do.

Wish you a success,

Valery.


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ValeryD
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Reged: 11/26/05

Loc: Kherson, Ukraine.
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5765623 - 03/29/13 07:51 PM

Quote:

Quote:

The only case when reflector, more correctly catadioptric, was in par with refractor (APO) of the same size was with 10" F/14.6 Mak-Cass.




Well, I don't recall saying that per inch of aperture a reflector would be on par with a refrector.

If I did, I mis-spoke, but since I don't hardly ever say that, then I don't think I did mis-speak.

I have always maintained that you can get the same performacne out of a slightly larger reflector than you can get out of an APO.

For example, my MN 56 was easily on par with the best 4" APOs I have owned.

My 6" MN was not much different from the 5" refractors I have owned (better than some).

Is all it takes to balance the damage form the central obstruction is a slightly larger apeture.

So, I don't think you have addressed someting I said here.

As close as I may have come was when I said that a high quality 8" f/6 reflector should give about the same contrast transfer and the best 6" APOs made.

Did not say that you could get the same performance from a reflector as you could from an equal sized refractor.

And as for the 400mm, it was also being used at an altitude of 5000 feet.

Did you happen to have a 400mm reflector of equal quality handy next to it to do a fair comparision?






Eddgie,

You are greatly mistaken replacing reflector with aspherics by MN. Each micro-ripple on the aspherized newtonian mirror spreads the light around Airy disk at 4x more effectively than micro ripple at the meniscus lens, as for micro ripples at the spherical mirrors, they are practically nonexistent vs aspherized mirrors, add here the spiders, open tubes in Newtonians (currents, a lot of dust on the mirrors) - enough. For planetary study I will take 12" APO or even FK01 + KF3 doublet F/12 any time vs excellent 17" or 18" reflector. I mean visual, of course.

Valery.


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Peter Natscher
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/06

Loc: Central Coast California
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5765624 - 03/29/13 07:52 PM

Newt's are great scopes, along with Cass'es, Mak's. These reflective and compound telescopes carry complexities that always show their issues at the eyepiece. We're not observing in a laboratory environment. The refractor is a simpler telescope in design and operation and benefits greatly over reflective and compound systems from it. For example, how many times after setting up your C14 and MN 56 have you waited for them to temperature equilibrate? How many times have you had to deal with their collimation to reassure yourself that you were getting "perfect"performance." How many times have you wished that you could get wide field star cloud views AND very high power lunar/planetary views with these same telescopes? The "lowly" APO trumps all of these issues.

Quote:

Quote:

The only case when reflector, more correctly catadioptric, was in par with refractor (APO) of the same size was with 10" F/14.6 Mak-Cass.




Well, I don't recall saying that per inch of aperture a reflector would be on par with a refrector.

If I did, I mis-spoke, but since I don't hardly ever say that, then I don't think I did mis-speak.

I have always maintained that you can get the same performacne out of a slightly larger reflector than you can get out of an APO.

For example, my MN 56 was easily on par with the best 4" APOs I have owned.

My 6" MN was not much different from the 5" refractors I have owned (better than some).

Is all it takes to balance the damage form the central obstruction is a slightly larger apeture.

So, I don't think you have addressed someting I said here.

As close as I may have come was when I said that a high quality 8" f/6 reflector should give about the same contrast transfer and the best 6" APOs made.

Did not say that you could get the same performance from a reflector as you could from an equal sized refractor.

And as for the 400mm, it was also being used at an altitude of 5000 feet.

Did you happen to have a 400mm reflector of equal quality handy next to it to do a fair comparision?





Edited by KWB (03/29/13 10:57 PM)


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KWB
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Reged: 09/30/06

Loc: Westminster,Co Elev.5400 feet
Re: The market for big refractors: Your opinions? new [Re: Peter Natscher]
      #5765737 - 03/29/13 09:06 PM

Upon further review from multiple CN moderators,since this thread once again got off-topic after being reopened, and collectively never really returned to where it belonged,it's shelf life has expired and is now locked for good.

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