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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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Eddgie
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: vahe]
      #6069655 - 09/08/13 02:44 PM

Quote:

AP abandoned visual refractor design in mid 90s,




Yes, this is consistent with what I was saying earlier and pretty much the same thing the RC told me about 8 years ago.

He designs for for the modern CCD.

Visually, there are other options that I think are on par with APs.

To be fair to AP, one must consider the merits of the instrument as the tie breaker here.

SOmeone said that they don't care about the use as an astrograph, but that is neither here nor there.

The people that do care about it are clearly willing to pay more for APs, and as a result, the wait list is 10 years long.

"Best brand" to me does not limit you to visual.

To me, "Best brand" means exactly that. Best at everything vs. any similar sized competitor.

And the APs are about as good as astrographs can be made. The color correction out to the extreme edges of modern chips is about as perfect as the laws of physics allow, and the quality is second to none.

And the resale factor is off the scale! I bought a 20 year old AP oil spaced triplet for $3200 about 4 years ago.. That is almost twice what it cost someone new when it was made...

Today, I cold probably sell it for more than I paid for it and invested in upgrading it (new powdercoat and new Starlight Instruments focuser).

Try that with just about any other brand name out there.


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Mike Clemens
Frozen to Eyepiece
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Reged: 11/26/05

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Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: mgwhittle]
      #6069658 - 09/08/13 02:45 PM

I bet having the new coatings put on is very expensive. (Haven't we heard figures in the $800-$1000 range?)

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Mike Clemens
Frozen to Eyepiece
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Reged: 11/26/05

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Mike Clemens]
      #6069662 - 09/08/13 02:46 PM

> AP abandoned visual refractor design in mid 90s,

Designing for a more stringent/picky/difficult medium is not abandoning the less stringent one.


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ManuelJ
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/19/05

Loc: Madrid, Spain
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: M13 Observer]
      #6069675 - 09/08/13 02:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I have dreamed of owning an AP for a long time. Once I did, I only want to get rid of it and never buy one again.

Yes, they are good, but they are not worth the money people are paying second hand, I just can't understand that.




You purchased one second hand that may have a problem because someone or something happened to it. Telephone Astro-Physics, get an RMA number, package it up and ship it to Roland to get it fixed. If it is a problem in the original design and building of this telescope I am sure he will fix it at little or no cost other than shipping. If it is a problem which is not a design or build problem and has happened due to use, misuse or abuse, then you will have to pay to get it repaired. It is really quite simple. Count yourself extremely lucky that he is around and available to do this for you. I have used and still use a number of Astro-Physics scopes in very cold weather, including a Traveler and have never had a problem. All of my AP scopes except one have been purchased second hand.

Whining about yours will get you nowhere and, at some point in the future will likely result in the loss of a very nice telescope because Roland will no longer be physically able to repair it.




Hi,

Don't want to start another big conversation about that again. Roland said the Traveler was fine, and I sent the scope to Rohr, who said the same. You can search in the forum there for the tests done to my unit.

The Traveler was advertised and sold to me as the ultimate machine. In my eyes I can see a (very) good corrected unit on green, but the color correction is even worse than today's chinese "apo". It's far from being an apo refractor, and I wouldn't use it even for astrophoto. The short tube is very sensitive to thermal changes.

The field curvature is quite remarkable also. It makes my Ethos cry in pain.

Worth 5000$?. Absolutely not, I'm sorry. After owning one, I would pay something in the 2000$ range for a collectors item, but there are far better alternatives today.

I've a friend that have just received an 130GT, another ultimate machine. His owner is even thinking selling his APQ 130 given what he have read in the forums about the uber telescope. Well, I think he's completely hyped and crazy. We'll see. It's pretty hard to see an AP here, the Taks are much appreciated here.

Regards,
Manuel.


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Erik Bakker
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/10/06

Loc: The Netherlands, Europe
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: ManuelJ]
      #6069728 - 09/08/13 03:14 PM

Quote:



I've a friend that have just received an 130GT, another ultimate machine. His owner is even thinking selling his APQ 130 given what he have read in the forums about the uber telescope. Well, I think he's completely hyped and crazy. We'll see. It's pretty hard to see an AP here, the Taks are much appreciated here.

Regards,
Manuel.




Manuel,

One good night under the stars with the APQ130 and GT130 will surely restore the sanity in your friends' mind

If not, you can always buy his "mediocre" APQ at a good price


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Eddgie
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Mike Clemens]
      #6069732 - 09/08/13 03:15 PM Attachment (62 downloads)

Quote:

I bet having the new coatings put on is very expensive. (Haven't we heard figures in the $800-$1000 range?)




Oh, heaven forbid... I paid a fraction of that, and I had a custom, two color coating applied.

My AP had to have special bead blasting on the exterrior because this was recommend due to the tube being aluminum.

Someone had drilled some extra holes in the tube at one time near the focsuer, and these were filled and smoothed so ony the three original focuser screw holes remained.

The scope was then finished in a Crosslink powder coating called "Rebar Green".

It was then given a second coat called "Emerald Metallic" which is basically a clear coating with a very fine green metallic glitter.

I think the total for all of this was about $320, and the finish is amazingly beautiful.

Of course I had to strip all of the hardware off, but they took care of everthing else.

The finish is fantastic.

Starlight Instruments worked with me to design a new adapter (they even named it after my scope...The "Buffy" addapter, and I understand that they have sold a bunch of them). I think they charged me $80 for the CCD design service and programming for the cutter, and I think they charged me $160 for the actual part itself.

And of course the focuser is a Starlightly Feathertouch 3.5" focuser.

Sadly, I don't use this scope much and recenly have thought about selling it, but it is without doubt one of the finest quality instruments I have ever owned.

6" is 6" though and that is not enoght to generally trip my trigger for anything other than wide field work, a task at which the 6" AP is mind bogglingy good at. The utter perfection of the field right to the field stop of a 31mm Nagler. I can take tight doubles and slide them to the edge of this eyepeice ans still split them. That is an amazing feat, to be able to get a crisp double split at the edges of a two degree wide field of view.

It makes wide field viewing a transendental experience.

The picture does not do the finish justice. In the sunlight, it sparkels like a diamond ring..


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Eddgie
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #6069753 - 09/08/13 03:26 PM Attachment (53 downloads)

And just a followup to the previous post. Again, I had two coats put on, and I had some holes filled.

Had I just needed the bead blasting to remove the old finish and had a single coat put on, I think it would have been something like $180. I think it was $60 for the bead blasting (and I let them handle that... I could have probably shopped it and gotten it done cheaper somewhere else), and I think the single coat of powdwer would have been $120 assuming it was a "Standard" color that they had on hand (and they had dozens of standard colors).

Company is "CrossLink" I think and they have franchises (?) in most major cities.

You have to see it in person to really appreciate how cool the finish looks...

And the Adapter that Starlight made was perfect in every way. Far nicer looking than the origional focuser flange, which was pretty low tech looking....


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Eddgie
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #6069758 - 09/08/13 03:27 PM

And again, how many people can say that they own a telescope that is most likely worth more now than what I paid for it, even after spending about $900 to "Upgrade" it???

Try doing that with your 120ED refractor after putting a Moonlight on it...

Edited by Eddgie (09/08/13 03:29 PM)


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Patrik Iver
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/29/03

Loc: Kaarina, Finland
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #6069801 - 09/08/13 03:52 PM

It really is a beautiful telescope!


Quote:


And of course the focuser is a Starlightly Feathertouch 3.5" focuser.





Are you sure that is not a 3" 3035 instead of the 3.5" 3545? Both extremely nice, but the 3035 (and 2535) rotation mechanisms are different than on the 3545, I think?

Two other things:

I'm not sure, but I suspect that Mike Clemens asking about the coating cost perhaps was referring to the optics, when/if requiring recoating?

Also, I'm not that knowledgeable about optics (and know almost nothing about astophotography) but would not field curvature be the main reason for using a field flatterner or Pezval-design? And no matter how much aspherization would be done to the outer surfaces of the triplet, the curvature would still be focal length-related? Off-axis spot size, perhaps, but not FC? And I write that as one who owns an AP, so I definitely have nothing but the highest regard for them.


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M13 Observer
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/09/06

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Mike Clemens]
      #6069831 - 09/08/13 04:10 PM

Quote:

I bet having the new coatings put on is very expensive. (Haven't we heard figures in the $800-$1000 range?)




I would think that would be per surface as the old coatings have to be ground off, creating a new surface which requires re-figuring and re-polishing. Fortunately I think it is usually the rearmost exposed surface in the triplet which requires aspherizing on the 105/130/155/180 and the lens which gets damaged is normally the spherical surfaced one in the front on the sky-side.

So saying, spending $1-2K to refurbish a 20+K telescope is a no-brainer if it is required.


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BillP
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Reged: 11/26/06

Loc: Vienna, VA
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #6069849 - 09/08/13 04:19 PM

Quote:

Well, I think if you asked Roland Christen, he would tell you that the real strength of his telecopes is only realized when they are used as astrographs.




He does exactly that. I asked him years ago and his response to me was that my money would be better spent elsewhere if all I planned was visual.


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M13 Observer
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/09/06

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: ManuelJ]
      #6069910 - 09/08/13 04:52 PM

Quote:



Don't want to start another big conversation about that again. Roland said the Traveler was fine, and I sent the scope to Rohr, who said the same. You can search in the forum there for the tests done to my unit.






Rohr is NOT Roland. Get an RMA, put the telescope in Roland's hands and tell him that the cell pinches when it is cold. Isn't that what you think is happening? Maybe there is something wrong, maybe not. I had a Tak like that too and it was sent back to Japan to get fixed. Fortunately it was under the 2 year warranty but I doubt that they would touch it now after all these years.

Quote:


The Traveler was advertised and sold to me as the ultimate machine. In my eyes I can see a (very) good corrected unit on green, but the color correction is even worse than today's chinese "apo". It's far from being an apo refractor, and I wouldn't use it even for astrophoto. The short tube is very sensitive to thermal changes.

The field curvature is quite remarkable also. It makes my Ethos cry in pain.

Worth 5000$?. Absolutely not, I'm sorry. After owning one, I would pay something in the 2000$ range for a collectors item, but there are far better alternatives today.

I've a friend that have just received an 130GT, another ultimate machine. His owner is even thinking selling his APQ 130 given what he have read in the forums about the uber telescope. Well, I think he's completely hyped and crazy. We'll see. It's pretty hard to see an AP here, the Taks are much appreciated here.

Regards,
Manuel.




1) The Traveler is f/6, well, actually around f/5.9.

2) Field curvature is a physical feature of the focal ratio if it is not a Petzval or similar multi-group system. The Traveler is f/6 so it will have significant field curvature. It is why there is a dedicated field flattener which works incredibly well. I know, I have one - actually two, the old one good enough for film and the new one which works better for CCD. Same thing for my AP130 field flatteners.

3) I have NEVER seen or heard of a high quality Chinese APO refractor at f/6, EVER. Closest comparable telescope to the Traveler is the TEC FLT110.

4) Yes, amazingly enough aluminum is not silica so temperature effects them differently. What is so shocking that it has to be re-focused as temperature changes? My TAK FSQ did too! I haven't had a scope that didn't. So what? Re-focusing is normally as much a part of every astro-photographers automated image acquisition as is filter changes and guiding.

5) For a purely visual instrument the visually optimized APQ130 will win, but it is f/8 if I am not mistaken, NOT f/6.3. The AP130 is built as an all-round telescope for both visual and photographic use and I don't think anything else comes close. The TAK 130 has nice optics which don't track temperature change well and needs a crane to lift, the TEC140 has problems for imagers and some visual users at the extreme violet end of the spectrum, the Zeiss is long since gone from the shelves and extremely difficult to procure second hand.

Thanks, but I'll stick with the AP scopes for my imaging and occasional visual use. I feel they are the best all-round refractor available with a VERY close second place going to the TEC110, 160FL and 180FL.


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Eddgie
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Patrik Iver]
      #6070151 - 09/08/13 07:54 PM

No, I am not sure at all what the focuser is... I know it is something like a 3025 or something. Maybe someone can tell by looking at the pictures, but I honestly don't remember exactly what it is.

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Eddgie
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Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Patrik Iver]
      #6070155 - 09/08/13 07:58 PM

Ah, silly me.

I thought coating being the coating on the OTA..

Duh.

No, no need to recoat. Coating appears to be in fine condition.

And the oil spacing means that only the front lens needs coating. There is no coating between the lenses because of the oil coupling making it unnecessary.

AP listed the transmission as 96%.

I don't see any reason that it may require recoating. As long as I don't scratch it or something, I would think the coatings would last a lifetime.


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Eddgie
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Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: BillP]
      #6070163 - 09/08/13 08:06 PM

Quote:

He does exactly that. I asked him years ago and his response to me was that my money would be better spent elsewhere if all I planned was visual.




And that is pretty much exactly what he told me too.

And back to the OPs question, I still think that the big APs are the best money can buy. They are designed to deliver the highest level of off axis performance possible.

If someone doesn't image, they may not get the benefit of the big APs, but that does not make the other scope better.. Only as good for visual and likely not as good at imaging.

And best means best. If one scope can do visual but not match the corners of the CCD, and the other scope can do both, then logic would suggest that the one that excels at both is the best scope.

Worth it? Yes, of course.

I saw a big AP sell at auction once for $25,000.

That is the way the world works sometimes. Two rich people both set their minds on owning the best of something and one overpays.

But he or she walks away with the best. And if he/she is really wealthy, does it matter if they overpaid? Really? Or only that they got what they thought was the best without waiting 10 years.

Rich people think differently than most other people do.


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JJK
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/28/08

Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: ManuelJ]
      #6070196 - 09/08/13 08:26 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

I have dreamed of owning an AP for a long time. Once I did, I only want to get rid of it and never buy one again.

Yes, they are good, but they are not worth the money people are paying second hand, I just can't understand that.




You purchased one second hand that may have a problem because someone or something happened to it. Telephone Astro-Physics, get an RMA number, package it up and ship it to Roland to get it fixed. If it is a problem in the original design and building of this telescope I am sure he will fix it at little or no cost other than shipping. If it is a problem which is not a design or build problem and has happened due to use, misuse or abuse, then you will have to pay to get it repaired. It is really quite simple. Count yourself extremely lucky that he is around and available to do this for you. I have used and still use a number of Astro-Physics scopes in very cold weather, including a Traveler and have never had a problem. All of my AP scopes except one have been purchased second hand.

Whining about yours will get you nowhere and, at some point in the future will likely result in the loss of a very nice telescope because Roland will no longer be physically able to repair it.




Hi,

Don't want to start another big conversation about that again. Roland said the Traveler was fine, and I sent the scope to Rohr, who said the same. You can search in the forum there for the tests done to my unit.

The Traveler was advertised and sold to me as the ultimate machine. In my eyes I can see a (very) good corrected unit on green, but the color correction is even worse than today's chinese "apo". It's far from being an apo refractor, and I wouldn't use it even for astrophoto. The short tube is very sensitive to thermal changes.

The field curvature is quite remarkable also. It makes my Ethos cry in pain.

Worth 5000$?. Absolutely not, I'm sorry. After owning one, I would pay something in the 2000$ range for a collectors item, but there are far better alternatives today.

I've a friend that have just received an 130GT, another ultimate machine. His owner is even thinking selling his APQ 130 given what he have read in the forums about the uber telescope. Well, I think he's completely hyped and crazy. We'll see. It's pretty hard to see an AP here, the Taks are much appreciated here.

Regards,
Manuel.




Your experience does not correlate with mine.

I've owned and used a wide range of top-tier refractors (AP, Zeiss APQ, Tak, TEC, TMB) and lesser tier scopes, and no AP performed as you suggested (with the exception of expected wide field curvature that can be removed with a field flattener). Every AP scope and mount I bought performed up to spec. In addition, Roland has offered excellent advice about purchasing his or others' vintage glass for specific applications.

In my experience, if something is truly wrong with an AP product, they fix it, period.


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mikey cee
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Reged: 01/18/07

Loc: bellevue ne.
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #6070291 - 09/08/13 09:30 PM

Quote:



Rich people think differently than most other people do.


You got that right. That's exactly why the average millionaire drives a vehicle that is 11 years old. They get that way by a different set of values than the rest do. Mike

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Rinaldo
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/28/04

Loc: Lawng-eye-lind - New York, USA
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #6070509 - 09/09/13 12:23 AM

Quote:

...If you just want to dork around with an eyepeice, it is a waste of a high quality astrograpich lens, You can do far better visual observing with any number of different telescopes...




This statement is too general and can be interpreted that it doesn't perform as well visually. However, if the above statement was intended to say that for the money one can buy a larger instrument with excellent optics that delivers the same quality and clarity across the visual spectrum, I could agree with that.


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Rinaldo
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/28/04

Loc: Lawng-eye-lind - New York, USA
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? [Re: okieav8r]
      #6070511 - 09/09/13 12:26 AM

Quote:

Quote:

but since AP has a years-long waiting list I wonder if it's worth just signing on.








Quote:

One thing you can say for the AP waiting list--you've got plenty of time to save up for the telescope while you're waiting. Sign up, open a savings account and contribute to it every payday, and when your name comes up, buy your telescope.




True. If you put $2.50 a day in a jar, you'll have over $9,000 in 10 years. Easily enough for a 130mm AP refractor when you get the call!

Edited by Rinaldo (09/09/13 12:27 AM)


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Astro-Physics the Best Brand? [Re: PeterR280]
      #6070781 - 09/09/13 07:24 AM

Quote:

Of course the computer will do the design work but manufacturing becomes an issue. I look at mass production for the high end camera makers and they incorporate aspherical as well as exotic glasses in automated processes. Some of the lenses can have more than 10 elements and the image quality is far superior to older production. I think you are seeing automated manufacturing being introduced with some of the newer high end telescopes coming out of China. If the volume is there, there is no reason why the manual process cannot be automated to reduce cost.




Camera lenses face far less stringent requirements than a telescope lens. Maybe in the future, automated processes can replace manual processing but I believe A-P has state of the art equipment but to get that final figure that is what it is, it takes a skilled optician with an interferometer...

Jon


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