Yesterday my long-awaited CFF250RC arrived, the first in the USA. I intend this thread to be a running review as I get familiar with the scope. I'll be using the CFF250RC primarily for imaging.
Rather than post a bunch of large pictures of the scope here, I'll include just one attached to this post, but more images can be found on a webpage I created for the scope: www.buckeyestargazer.net/Pages/CFF250RC.php
Some initial observations:
1. First and foremost, working with Catalin Fus (CFF) and Cloud Break Optics (CFF USA dealer) was absolutely amazing. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
2. The scope arrived VERY well packed...it took me nearly 90min just to get everything unpacked and unwrapped (I took my time though).
3. Everything about this scope breathes extremely high quality. The fit and finish is wonderful, the mechanics are very precisely machined and everything is tight. Perhaps the main reason I decided on a CFF RC vs. the more common Chinese variants is because of the mechanics of the CFF (more on that below regarding collimation). I'm not saying other brands RC scopes are not good, but the CFF is on another level (and price of course). I previously owned a common 8" Chinese RC and while the mirrors were not bad the mechanics left much to be desired. I got very tired of having to fiddle with collimation, not ever being sure if it was precise or not, and decided at that point that I was a refractor guy . That was several years ago and I had been thinking for a long time now that I needed more focal length so I started researching RC or Dall-Kirkham scopes. I settled on CFF because of the high quality reputation and yet the price was less than the more expensive DK options out there.
4. Collimation: Before buying the scope I had asked several European users of a CFF RC how well the scope holds collimation and the answers I got were very encouraging. A few of them mentioned how they always travel for imaging and they rarely have to tweak the collimation between travels. Even though I am observatory mounted this stability in maintaining collimation was very important in my choice of scope, and I will on occasion travel to a dark sky site.
The scope arrived in relatively good collimation having traveled all the way from Poland to Indiana. Last evening I collimated the scope indoors with a Howie Glatter laser collimator. I have never used a laser collimator before. Collimating the CFF was not hard at all. CFF has a nice collimation guide. There are 4 steps (align focuser with secondary, align secondary with primary, align primary tilt, and star test). I have not done the star test yet.
The collimation knobs on both the primary and secondary are tight and very precise. The primary has 3 knobs with 100 - 0.01mm markings on them, so one full turn of the knob equals just 1 mm. It did take me some time to get used to what I was doing (never having done it before), but the adjustments themselves were precise and easy. Again, everything is very tight and I have no doubt that collimation will remain precise. There are lock screws for each of the primary and secondary adjustment bolts.
5. Accessories: A flattener comes standard with the scope, as does a shroud for the cage, secondary mirror, and front objective, as well as a cover for the primary for transportation. I also received primary and secondary dew heaters that are installed in the mirror cages, as well as a Lunatico Platypus/Zerodew combination control unit made specially for CFF. This Lunatico controller will allow me to control a number of different peripherals from one controller (2 focuser motors, dew heaters, scope fans).
I also had Catalin make me some custom adapters for my specific camera needs. As with the scope, the adapters are simply beatiful. Catalin gives attention to detail like no other.
Over the next few days I hope to get the system all mounted up and everything connected as well as star testing and I will report back here on my progress.
EDIT: For some reason the pics come out a little orange. The accent color is actually deep red and it looks fantastic.
Edited by buckeyestargazer, 11 May 2017 - 12:53 PM.