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Vintage AP Scopes

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#51 Jeff B

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 10:11 PM

Here's mine, same as Jeff's.

 

WFaXSxS.jpg

 

While the blue tubes may have been cute, they did have shortcomings:

 

  • "meh" focusers
  • nose heavy
  • a meagre 3 baffles
  • screw on dewshields which can give you a heart attack when putting on/taking off

I can't do anything about the baffles (they're welded in) but I have added a backplate from D&G which allowed me to put on a more recent vintage A-P focuser. To address the nose heaviness, I constructed a counterweight using Parallax rings and ScopeStuff screw-on shaft end-weights. I shortened the tube as well for binoviewing. I can now use 35mm Ultrascopics without a teleextender with Mark V binos. I almost never use the screw on dewshield, using a flexible AstroZap one instead.

 

Tanveer.

Excellent Tanveer and nice scope!

 

I've modified both the 152 F9 and 178 F9 the same basic ways.  First I've shortened them to be bino-friendly with my Denks and power switch in place (I can use the barlow side of the swith for ~2X).  I replaced the back plates with one from D&G for the 152, the other from Parallax (which allows easy collimation of the focuser).  I added AP 2.7" feather touch focusers with the older style AP 1" extensions added in front of the visual backs.  Theses allow the drawtubes to retract into the body of the focuser and extra inch.   This allows me to go mono vision without the need of a separate extension (but I rarely go mono-vision anymore).  

 

I use an extra ring at the back of the tube as well to mount the finder and a counterpoise weight.  This helps to keep the scope well balanced and easy to transport.  I typically mount the weight on a shaft that goes through a post mounted on the bottom of the ring.  I can mount two weights that way, one smaller one to counterpoise the finder scope and the other I can add if I remove the bino-viewer for what ever reason and still maintain balance.   The system works very well.

 

Yeah the baffles are very robust.  I've found the three work just fine and are very effective with no off axis glare.  In my ATM work, I've found three well sized and placed baffles are more than enough really.

 

LOL, the screw on dew shield is indeed a PIA so, like you, I either do (not dew) without one or use an AstroZap one too.

 

About a month ago, a friend and myself had some just exceptional views of various open and globs with the 179 and a pair of the newer Denk 21 LOAs without the 3D eyepiece.  M11 was particularly beautiful! 

 

These early AP scopes are just superb visual instruments.  I still find it amazing what Roland did back then with those pre-ED triplets, especially the 179 F9.

 

Jeff



#52 STE411

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 06:16 AM

IMG_0624.JPG

So, after 20 some years of the collimation gremlins chewing at my brain, I had a push pull lens cell made for my 6"f12. It was made by a fellow CNer and while not dirt cheap, was quite reasonable.( think mid fl Nagler ) It was a little more involved than it looks as the tube was not exactly round. Anyway I can get the Cheshire reflections to line up pretty well and so far seems to be holding even after slipping on and taking off the tight fitting dew shield.

thank you for your interest.

steve


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#53 starman876

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 12:20 PM

These early non ED triplets are amazing.  Roland performs sheer magic when it comes to figuring lenses.


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#54 TG

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 02:40 PM

Re. balancing nose heavy refractors, see this

 

http://www.cloudynig...avy-refractors/

 

qiE04qp.jpg

 

Also, since the A-P 7"f/9 isn't coma corrected, here's my collimation method :grin:

 

llr1j7j.jpg



#55 TG

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 02:50 PM

You could sell the blue-tube and pick up a 155mm f/7 with 4-inch focuser, that would fix all your concerns.  FWIW, my late-model AP160 is currently undergoing surgery to exchange the state-of-the-art 4" focuser with the 1990's greased 2.7", which will also significantly lighten the tube (5 lbs less) and make it nose-heavy.    

 

The larger TEC's are nose heavy because they use the 3.5" Starlight focuser which is only 6 pounds, the AP 4 inch focuser is 10.5 or 12 if you include the rotating collar assembly.

 

You could probably add an AP 4" focuser to your scope to balance it perfectly, but make it heavier to transport.   Re: the baffles - do you have problems with stray light?  Perhaps Uncle Rollo felt that 3 baffles would suffice.

 

I don't think my blue tube would quite command the price to buy one of the 155 f/7's. And I would lose 1" of aperture. Not a good deal!

 

The baffles are inadequate only when the moon is shining off-axis into the tube as happens when you are looking at something at the terminator. More baffles would have been better. It's not they don't work but that the edges of baffles themselves light up. Maybe I need to rig a sprayer like somebody showed on CN and give the baffle edges a quick spray of Krylon ultra flat black.

 

But I have it optimized as I like it now and don't really envy the newer A-P offerings.

 

Tanveer.



#56 tag1260

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 09:16 PM

While we're talking about them, what sort of prices are these older blue scopes commanding?  I'd like to get my hands on one sometime.


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#57 Jeff B

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 10:34 PM

The last few of the pre-ED Starfires, both 6" and 7" but mostly the 6" ones, were air spaced thus better corrected, their tubes were white and they had different lens cells.  Those tend to command a higher price within their apertures.

 

Basically the 6" F9's go for ~$4000 to $5900 USD depending on condition, upgrades and air or oil spaced.  The 7" jobbies can fetch from ~$7500 to $10,000 USD.  The 5" F8 blue tubes can range from ~$2500-$3500 (I don't believe any of them were ever air spaced).

 

Where in Ohio do you live?

 

Jeff


Edited by Jeff B, 22 October 2016 - 10:35 PM.


#58 tag1260

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 01:55 AM

Thanks for the info. I'm located in Eastern Ohio but am actually all over the state from time to time.  (Actually just walked in a little bit ago from a day trip to Cincinnati to have dinner.)



#59 CHASLX200

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 07:26 AM

While we're talking about them, what sort of prices are these older blue scopes commanding?  I'd like to get my hands on one sometime.

I paid $1500 or around there for a blue tube 6" F/9 back in 1999.  So that was cheap for back then. Seems prices for used AP scopes bring more than new prices by far.



#60 Scott99

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 12:09 PM

 

I paid $1500 or around there for a blue tube 6" F/9 back in 1999.  So that was cheap for back then. Seems prices for used AP scopes bring more than new prices by far.

 

 

1999 is the year everything went crazy with AP.  Up until '99, you generally ordered your scope and received it within a year or 18 months.  Suddenly everyone was on the internet (i.e. SAA) discussing these scopes and AP developed the 5 or 10 year or more waiting list.   The used prices started climbing and peaked around 2004 I believe.  The 80's scopes are slightly cheaper now than they were around 2004.



#61 Scott99

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 08:40 PM

excellent opportunity to get into a gorgeous mint-condition early 90's AP 5" f8 over at the 'mart right now!



#62 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 09:22 AM

 

 

I paid $1500 or around there for a blue tube 6" F/9 back in 1999.  So that was cheap for back then. Seems prices for used AP scopes bring more than new prices by far.

 

 

1999 is the year everything went crazy with AP.  Up until '99, you generally ordered your scope and received it within a year or 18 months.  Suddenly everyone was on the internet (i.e. SAA) discussing these scopes and AP developed the 5 or 10 year or more waiting list.   The used prices started climbing and peaked around 2004 I believe.  The 80's scopes are slightly cheaper now than they were around 2004.

 

I remember the ramp up in used prices and there was no way i was gonna pay someone double the price of a new AP.


Edited by CHASLX200, 06 November 2016 - 09:22 AM.


#63 Scott99

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 11:47 AM

I remember the ramp up in used prices and there was no way i was gonna pay someone double the price of a new AP.

yes, my dreams of an f/7 Stowaway were crushed forever!   :bawling: I think Stowaways are probably the most inflated ones.  Good thing Tak makes some nice small apos   :waytogo:



#64 sthater

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 12:10 PM

 

I remember the ramp up in used prices and there was no way i was gonna pay someone double the price of a new AP.

yes, my dreams of an f/7 Stowaway were crushed forever!   :bawling: I think Stowaways are probably the most inflated ones.  Good thing Tak makes some nice small apos   :waytogo:

 

I remember when the last Stowaway production run was announced.  I don't recall the specific dates but I remember that they ended with the month before I signed up.  AND I had signed up on the day after the last date that they would be fulfilling.  So if I wasn't the VERY next on the wait list, I was definitely very close.  When my chance finally came up on the 130 wait list, I no longer had the $4k (at that time) available, so I had to let it go.  Ever since then I have admired, but never desired another AP scope. They are wonderful, but have lost their attraction for me, much to the betterment of my wallet!



#65 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 12:29 PM

i was lucky over the years to buy the ap scopes i have had.  my first one, a 5" F12 i bought in 1993 or so and paid $1200 for it.  the second was the 6" F8 which i still have.  bought that some years ago and paid over 3K for it.  almost three times what they sold for when new.   about a year later another 6" F8 came up for sale locally which was the same one i had try to buy a year  before in FL.  now it was 30 minutes away.  i bought it, but i could not see any difference optically between the two scopes. however, this one came with the ap guide scope.  i kept the guide scope set up and sold the main ota.   i have never regretted any if my AP purchases. they have all been wonderfully performing scopes and always a joy to use.  i thank Roland for being such a master at his art and i can clearly see why the scopes are so desirable and appreciate in value the way they do.  you are buying part of history in american optical mastery.  soon Roland will not be making anymore scopes.  i bet you know what is going to happen to the value then.  better buy a part of optical history while you can.  


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#66 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 12:44 PM

I was never into the AP craze.  Not gonna spend 6 or more K for a 6 or 7" scope that my Cave 8" F8.5 can beat at 10 times less the price.  Plus the 7" Meade ED i had really put a damper on these kind of scopes.  A Newt can do 95% the same at much cheaper prices.  I don't image so i am not counting that.



#67 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 12:51 PM

there is something really wonderful about looking at a star cluster in a really good refractor which has never compared to any reflector telescope i have used and i have and have used the best. the perfectly round pin point stars from edge to edge in a good quality refractor i have never seen in any reflector i have had.   there is such a night and day difference, i am sure many have seen the difference.  


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#68 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 01:31 PM

Some of my cheapest refractors give pinpoint stars that are smaller than similar aperture reflectors.  But as I've gotten older, I appreciate the star color fidelity of reflectors almost as much.  I can trust a reflector's views - whether it's blue-gray or rust or tangerine - and I've verified many of these in the printed & online atlases.  The only remaining personal test is a 100mm APO versus my restored RV-6, but I'd have to buy another 4" refractor (it's always something!).


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#69 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 03:39 PM

there is something really wonderful about looking at a star cluster in a really good refractor which has never compared to any reflector telescope i have used and i have and have used the best. the perfectly round pin point stars from edge to edge in a good quality refractor i have never seen in any reflector i have had.   there is such a night and day difference, i am sure many have seen the difference.  

I can agree there is nothing like my FS78 ,102 and 128 i have used.  Nothing like sweeping and getting that snap to dead sharp image. But crank the power to 500x and my Cave 8" F8.5 that you sold me will beat them all on Jupiter.  Sure as heck not gonna pay AP prices used to use a 6" or 7" when my Cave will do better at high powers and give me more light at 500x and up.



#70 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 03:44 PM

 

I was never into the AP craze.  Not gonna spend 6 or more K for a 6 or 7" scope that my Cave 8" F8.5 can beat at 10 times less the price.  Plus the 7" Meade ED i had really put a damper on these kind of scopes.  A Newt can do 95% the same at much cheaper prices.  I don't image so i am not counting that.

If I had a dollar for every time you tell us your 8" Newt does the same for 10 times less, I would be a rich man! :lol:

 

But it is true.  A 6" Tak would cost many times more than my 8" Cave and at 500x my 8" Cave will have more light and cost many times less.

Just like if i bought a 8" APO today, it would cost 20 or more times what it would cost me for my 8" Cave and to me money really matters at the eyepiece end of a scope.  So lets do a side by side,  one view at 500x will cost me 20k+ while the other view with maybe a 5% loss of detail will cost me under 1k.  I am picking the 1k view everytime.

 

I have a cut off price level in my head that i have never crossed.  Big Newts are the winner in my seeing anyways.


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#71 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 03:51 PM

 

there is something really wonderful about looking at a star cluster in a really good refractor which has never compared to any reflector telescope i have used and i have and have used the best. the perfectly round pin point stars from edge to edge in a good quality refractor i have never seen in any reflector i have had.   there is such a night and day difference, i am sure many have seen the difference.  

I can agree there is nothing like my FS78 ,102 and 128 i have used.  Nothing like sweeping and getting that snap to dead sharp image. But crank the power to 500x and my Cave 8" F8.5 that you sold me will beat them all on Jupiter.  Sure as heck not gonna pay AP prices used to use a 6" or 7" when my Cave will do better at high powers and give me more light at 500x and up.

 

i have the 6" ap up to 480 power and it held onto the image wonderfully.  i do not think my viewing allows me to use anything larger at higher powers.  the 6" ap seems to work really well in the dc area. the 7" meade seems to work well in my viewing area also.  anything larger seems to require an exceptional clarity around here. the cave i sold you never gave me better views then anything else i had so i sold it. 


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#72 rolo

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 04:30 PM

;)

 

 

I was never into the AP craze.  Not gonna spend 6 or more K for a 6 or 7" scope that my Cave 8" F8.5 can beat at 10 times less the price.  Plus the 7" Meade ED i had really put a damper on these kind of scopes.  A Newt can do 95% the same at much cheaper prices.  I don't image so i am not counting that.

If I had a dollar for every time you tell us your 8" Newt does the same for 10 times less, I would be a rich man! :lol:

 

But it is true.  A 6" Tak would cost many times more than my 8" Cave and at 500x my 8" Cave will have more light and cost many times less.

Just like if i bought a 8" APO today, it would cost 20 or more times what it would cost me for my 8" Cave and to me money really matters at the eyepiece end of a scope.  So lets do a side by side,  one view at 500x will cost me 20k+ while the other view with maybe a 5% loss of detail will cost me under 1k.  I am picking the 1k view everytime.

 

I have a cut off price level in my head that i have never crossed.  Big Newts are the winner in my seeing anyways.

 

I'm not trying to bust you chops but we all know this. Besides, this Topic isn't about price vs performance. Also while your Cave loses value, the AP's are going up in value so if you sell it you will make a good chunk of cash. So, you're getting paid to own the best refractor money can buy! You just can't lose when you buy an AP ;)


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#73 rolo

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 04:35 PM

 

While we're talking about them, what sort of prices are these older blue scopes commanding?  I'd like to get my hands on one sometime.

I paid $1500 or around there for a blue tube 6" F/9 back in 1999.  So that was cheap for back then. Seems prices for used AP scopes bring more than new prices by far.

 

If you would have kept it, at today's prices, you could have paid for your Cave observatory mount...just a thought.


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#74 rolo

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 04:39 PM

 

 

 

there is something really wonderful about looking at a star cluster in a really good refractor which has never compared to any reflector telescope i have used and i have and have used the best. the perfectly round pin point stars from edge to edge in a good quality refractor i have never seen in any reflector i have had.   there is such a night and day difference, i am sure many have seen the difference.  

I can agree there is nothing like my FS78 ,102 and 128 i have used.  Nothing like sweeping and getting that snap to dead sharp image. But crank the power to 500x and my Cave 8" F8.5 that you sold me will beat them all on Jupiter.  Sure as heck not gonna pay AP prices used to use a 6" or 7" when my Cave will do better at high powers and give me more light at 500x and up.

 

i have the 6" ap up to 480 power and it held onto the image wonderfully.  i do not think my viewing allows me to use anything larger at higher powers.  the 6" ap seems to work really well in the dc area. the 7" meade seems to work well in my viewing area also.  anything larger seems to require an exceptional clarity around here. the cave i sold you never gave me better views then anything else i had so i sold it. 

 

Well you were doing something wrong with that Cave you sold me, or had seeing problems for the size of the mirror. I am sure my seeing is many times better than where you live most nites so the answer could be in the seeing only.  Unless you had tube currents  or it was not collimated right.

 

I am telling you that 8" Cave is a one a million keeper.  I should have Lockwood test the mirror if i felt like taking a chance on shipping it. I have had it past 600x and it kept going on Jupiter.

 

I wish you would test it so we can see what the wavefront is. Like that we can confirm if you have the best 8" ever. 



#75 wjbanjo

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 09:43 PM

Derek,

 

Getting back closer to the original topic. I've owned  or own several early AP scopes, a 6 inch f8 ( Buffy to those who have read Ed's reviews),a 5 inch f6 wide field  photo coated and a 102 f 8 starfire. Each has rewarded me greatly . I'm not personally connect to Rolland C. but knowing that he is the one who designed and  built these scope is pleasing , one persons handiwork. Being a craftsperson myself I get to see the connection between client and maker via  a product. When someone takes home one of my  musical instruments  they pick up the connection with the object . I move on to the next project. The hundreds of scopes that he has made links us to him . The view through these instruments may  or may not be different than  through the other fine scopes out there but for those of us who care something more adds to the experience.

 

Thanks for starting the thread here in this forum.

 

Bill


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