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Astrozap's 5" and 6" achros: any good?

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#1 belgrade

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 01:00 PM

I must admit that I knew about Astrozap's dew shields but not telescopes. I just found out - and checked on their website - that they make achromatic refractors, wide field Petzvals, 5 and 6 inch aperture, and "super achromatic" (?!) refractors, also 5 and 6" objective diameter, respectively. You can get only OTAs or with the mount/tripod deal. The 5" F/8 achro even comes with allegedly GOTO mount which doesn't look like either ASCG5GT or LXD75 (maybe Orion's SVP-style?) and has a very different looking handset. This "system," as they call it, costs $849.00 and it's unclear whether you have to pay shipping, I guess you do. So it's cheaper then the AR6 or the C6RGT ($1,200 and $1,100, respectively, usually with free shipping). No info re: the GOTO mount characteristics and/or features. Anyone has any idea about these scopes? :question: Anyone using them and can possibly compare them to Meade's, Celestron's or Antares' (or any other manufacturer's) offerings in that category and aperture? Finally, any info or experience re: the GOTO mount? I assume the scopes are Chinese-made. :help:

#2 galaxyman

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 02:09 PM

I must admit that I knew about Astrozap's dew shields but not telescopes. I just found out - and checked on their website - that they make achromatic refractors, wide field Petzvals, 5 and 6 inch aperture, and "super achromatic" (?!) refractors, also 5 and 6" objective diameter, respectively. You can get only OTAs or with the mount/tripod deal. The 5" F/8 achro even comes with allegedly GOTO mount which doesn't look like either ASCG5GT or LXD75 (maybe Orion's SVP-style?) and has a very different looking handset. This "system," as they call it, costs $849.00 and it's unclear whether you have to pay shipping, I guess you do. So it's cheaper then the AR6 or the C6RGT ($1,200 and $1,100, respectively, usually with free shipping). No info re: the GOTO mount characteristics and/or features. Anyone has any idea about these scopes? :question: Anyone using them and can possibly compare them to Meade's, Celestron's or Antares' (or any other manufacturer's) offerings in that category and aperture? Finally, any info or experience re: the GOTO mount? I assume the scopes are Chinese-made. :help:


I have a New Astrozap 6" f/8 Super achro.

In fact on another post http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1 I mention about the Astrozap with a picture.

Of the four 6" refractors I've owned...Skywatcher (same as Celestron), Meade, then Antares, this Astrozap example is the best optically I've owned.

It's similar to the Meade and Antares, but I did like that Joe of Astrozap tested (artificial star) the scope. He is very pleasant to deal with.

The view of various deep sky objects (and yes planets) are very sharp and clear even up to x400. In fact the best deep sky views I've seen at this aperture.


Karl
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Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB 8" F/9 Refractor(The Beast)
Astrozap 6" f/8 Refractor
Orion 4" f/6 Refractor

#3 pilgrim1

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 02:33 PM

Karl,

I am looking at the Astrozap and the new Antares. Have you seen the specs on the new Antares? If so, how do you think it might compare to the Astro for visual use?

John

#4 galaxyman

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 02:59 PM

Karl,

I am looking at the Astrozap and the new Antares. Have you seen the specs on the new Antares? If so, how do you think it might compare to the Astro for visual use?

John


Hi John

No I haven't seen the newest of the Antares, but what I can gather from some info here and there, they seem quite nice.

Optically, I'm sure they are very close.

I sold my Antares (second generation) for the Astrozap, for I just felt the f/8 was a bit more flexible than the shorter Antares. This particular Astrozap has better optics than my old Antares, and that particular Antares did have very nice optics.


Karl
E.O.H.


Chesmont Astronomical Society
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB 8" F/9 Refractor(The Beast)
Astrozap 6" f/8 Refractor
Orion 4" f/6 Refractor

#5 belgrade

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 03:13 PM

Thank you, Karl. Right after I posted my questions I did a search (which, of course, I was supposed to do before I posted anything :o) and found yours and a few other guys' posts starting way back in April 2007 and then throughout last and this year. I also noticed that ScopeStuff used to sell them but, for some reason, not anymore. Another retailer was nightfirescientific.com.
Some questions still remain. For example, why do you think it's optically better than the AR6 (or the SkyWatcher version of C6R)? Do you or anyone else knows something about the alleged GOTO mount that Astrozap offers with one of the achros? I am more interested in the 6" F8 version than the faster F5 but it seems that the Petzval F5 has been deemed quite good for the price.

#6 galaxyman

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 05:31 PM

Thank you, Karl. Right after I posted my questions I did a search (which, of course, I was supposed to do before I posted anything :o) and found yours and a few other guys' posts starting way back in April 2007 and then throughout last and this year. I also noticed that ScopeStuff used to sell them but, for some reason, not anymore. Another retailer was nightfirescientific.com.
Some questions still remain. For example, why do you think it's optically better than the AR6 (or the SkyWatcher version of C6R)? Do you or anyone else knows something about the alleged GOTO mount that Astrozap offers with one of the achros? I am more interested in the 6" F8 version than the faster F5 but it seems that the Petzval F5 has been deemed quite good for the price.


That’s a good and fair question.

My Skywatcher 6” f/8 (first generation) was not bad optically, though when I sold it and later bought the Meade, I could tell this AR6 as a bit better built scope, and the optics were better coated as well as sharper.

The Antares 6” f/6.5 had the same feel in build as the Meade, and optically the Antares for it’s focal length was at least as good as the Meade (maybe slightly better), providing great images.

Now this new Astrozap 6” f/8 I believe is manufactured by the same company as the Antares (Jinghua).

I believe your question has also to do with Joe at Astrozap, and that he will test your scope before he sends it. Giving better odds that the scope will perform. I really do like the optics in this scope.

My club members were really impressed with the views at one of our dark sites.

The Synta products (Celestron/Skywatcher) do seem to be doing well. My Orion 100mm f/6 is one.

The GoTo mount I'm not sure about. I use mine on a Celestron AS CG5 GoTo, and they make a perfect match.

Overall I do like the build of the others (Meade, Antares, Astrozap) better. I also like that extra 2mm (150mm to 152mm):grin:

Karl
E.O.H.

#7 HaleBopper

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 05:47 PM

Now you guys have got me interested in the 6" :foreheadslap: How noticeable is the CA on planets? Moon? How amenable is this scope for AP?

Thanks.

#8 AlienRatDog

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 09:50 PM

You know, I am curious about these scopes. What makes them "super"? How is the optical design different than a regular achromat? Also, they shouldn't use the term superachromat, it is a term to describe a lens that can focus 4 colors (where achros can focus 2 and apos focus 3 colors).

http://en.wikipedia....i/Superachromat

#9 galaxyman

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 11:17 PM

Now you guys have got me interested in the 6" :foreheadslap: How noticeable is the CA on planets? Moon? How amenable is this scope for AP?

Thanks.


Well on Saturn at 343x to 400x (using a friends 3mm ortho) this scope gave a great view of the ringed planet. Very sharp with little CA seen.

Not sure about how well it will image (not into it), but I've seen some others even here on CN, that has used their 6" f/8 with good results.

No doubt an APO is intended for that, while a good achro is more of a visual instrument, and very good at that.


Abe

Not sure other than the lens is very well corrected (spherical aberration and no astigmatism) for a 6" f/8 achro, and the glass and coatings seem to be very good, without any noticeable defects or blemish. In fact it's one of the better coating jobs I've seen on these Chinese achros including my former Antares.

The term superachromat is not the way it's advertised, but it is with two words.

Anyway, here is a write-up on a short night out with this scope, a few weeks back, at one of our dark sites.


Ngc 5248 (galaxy in Bootes) showed nice detail of a bright core, and a mottled oval disc.

M-51 showed some surprising detail, with the spiral structure tantalizingly there. The "swirl" effect was easily seen. Darker skies would be interesting.

Many galaxies in Draco were seen quite well like the fine edge-on Ngc 5907.

Ngc 5965 (nice edge-on) and Ngc 5963 made a nice pair at 109x. Then up to the Draco triplet (Ngc 5981, 5982, 5985). At 109x all three galaxies were seen (5982 and 5985 easily), though Ngc 5981 (a small edge-on) was a bit tougher at this power. Moving up to 200x brought the fainter galaxy in easily.

M-102 showed a very bright lens shape in a nice field of stars. This galaxy can take lots of power, and at 343x looked very nice. Other galaxies in Draco like Ngc 6015 and Ngc 6643 showed surprisingly nice views at 109x.

Ngc 6543 (Cat's eye neb.) at 343x showed a very bright bluish-green oval shape with some structure visible.

Globs like M-3, M-5 (my favorite glob) were fantastic at 200x, as well as M-10 and M12. Globular clusters in a large refractor are quite beautiful, thanks to the added contrast and pinpoint stars.

Even the very hard to resolve M-14 showed a bright slightly oval disc, and at 343x on moments of good seeing some stars could be resolved with patience. The view overall at 200x was real nice.

In Lyra Ngc 6745 (interacting galaxies) at around 13th mag was easily seen. Ngc 6702 and the brighter Ngc 6703 stood out quite well in the refractor's black strewn sky.

Other more notable objects as M-27 at 200x without a filter was the best I've seen in a scope smaller then my 8" refractor. The central star could be seen on moments of good seeing at 343x.

M-57 was also by far the best I've seen in this size scope, and at 200x showed a wispy or very mottled throughout the ring. At 400x (borrowing Doc's 3mm eyepiece) gave an amazing view for a 6" scope.

Finished the night with the sky just noticeably getting brighter in the east with a view of M-13 at 200x and the nearby field galaxy Ngc 6207. A great view for a great short night.

Super achromat....two words is correct.

Karl
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Chesmont Astronomical Society
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB 8" F/9 Refractor(The Beast)
Astrozap 6" f/8 Refractor
Orion 4" f/6 Refractor

#10 Gaz O'C

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 01:59 AM


I've had the 6" Petzval for a few months now and continue to be impressed. I did put a short first light report on CN and I havn't found any real 'cons' to the scope with further use.

#11 belgrade

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:12 AM

Thank you for the input from all of you. I am waiting for a reply from Astrozap re: the GOTO mount. Overall, it seems that these scopes are quite a competition to more talk-about achros from Meade, Celestron, Orion, SkyWatcher, Antares... I wonder why pretty much no one else but Astrozap offers them these days?! :idea:

#12 AlienRatDog

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:16 AM

Also, would the CA be controlled ok with the fringe killer filter? How is the focuser?

#13 Gaz O'C

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:16 PM

The focuser on the Petzval is very good for a R&P, it houses the extra elements so its a 4" and very substantial. The CA is there but pretty well controlled and TBH generally I'd rather a 'natural' view with a bit of CA than use minus-violet type filters.

#14 AlienRatDog

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:30 PM

Compared to the Synta 6 inch f/8, how is the false color?

#15 Gaz O'C

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:40 PM

I've had 2 Synta f8s and the Petzval seems slightly better than either but it was a while ago when I had the f8s and I maybe subcouciously favouring the newer scope...I think the fairest think I could say is thats theres not much in it.

#16 galaxyman

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:03 PM

I was going to go with a Bresser 6" f/5 Petzval , but for some info, I changed my mind and decided that the 6" f/8 Astrozap would be better all around for me as a deep sky observer.

This info might be the reason why some may see slightly less CA in the Petzval compared to some 6" f/8.

As for CA in many of these 6" f/8, it's just a overblown issue for 99.9% of objects in the night sky.


Karl
E.O.H.


Chesmont Astronomical Society
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB 8" F/9 Refractor(The Beast)
Astrozap 6" f/8 Refractor
Orion 4" f/6 Refractor

#17 Gaz O'C

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:10 PM


Care to elaborate? FWIW I agree on the last point, CA is'nt much of a problem on most objects esp. deep sky.

#18 galaxyman

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 12:04 AM

Care to elaborate? FWIW I agree on the last point, CA is'nt much of a problem on most objects esp. deep sky.


Gaz, I'll send you a PM, for I don't want people to think the Petzval's are not great scopes, but there is something that just bugged me.

Anyone else would like to know, please send me a PM.

Thanks

Karl
E.O.H.

Chesmont Astronomical Society
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB 8" F/9 Refractor(The Beast)
Astrozap 6" f/8 Refractor
Orion 4" f/6 Refractor

#19 J Rouse

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 01:10 PM

Hi everyone: I'm new to CN, but an avid observer/astrophotographer for 40 years. I've owned several 6" AP's over the years (sadly sold them all due to ongoing aperture fever). Thinking of buying an Astrozap 6" f5 Petzval as I can't afford another APO these days. I'm attracted by the shorter tube length of the f5 for ease of use, and for better compatibility with my CG5 mount. I'm somewhat concerned with CA, as part of my reason for wanting a big refractor is lunar/planet observing. As I understand the various posts here, the f10 objective of the Petzval should give somewhat lower CA than the f8 objective of the other 6" scopes commonly available today.
My questions, for those of you who have actually used an Astrozap 6" f5 scope are:
1. Is CA on planets objectionable (Jupiter and Saturn specifically)?
2. How is visual resolution of planet details compared to an f8 6" scope?
3. Has anyone tried a Chromacor with the f5 Petzval?
Your results?
Thanks much.
Jim Rouse

#20 Gaz O'C

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 04:49 PM

Hi Jim,

IMHO the 6" Petzval is shows roughly the same amount of CA as a 6" f8, mine gives very good planetary views. One thing I should mention is that the scopes are very heavy for a 6" f5, heavier than a f8 model and it would touch and go for a CG5 if you intend imaging with it.

HGHs
Gaz

#21 J Rouse

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:19 PM

Thanks! I've successfully used a Meade 10" LX200R on the CG5 (visually), and do not plan to do imaging through it. The Meade weighs 28 lbs. I'm told the Petzval weighs about 24. Seems like it should be OK???

Still need info about the relative merits of a Chromacor with the Petzval. Thanks.


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