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New A-P Stowaway First-lights, Reviews, and Shootouts

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#26 Scott99

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 12:15 PM

I must confess this is the one time over the last 30 years I've had angst about the AP waiting list!  I watched the website all day after this scope was announced, waiting to sign up.  At around 430 I had to go walk my dogs.  Just a few minutes after I left the house, the sign-up appeared on their website. 

 

So I didn't sign up for about 2 hours after, probably a few hundred spots lower on the list.  Makes me think they should just do a lottery of everyone that signs up the first day.  I believe some people signed a paper list at NEAF that day as well.

 

I'm OK with "early bird gets the worm" but it can get ridiculous - it almost reminds me of when I used to set up 3-4 computers to log into Ticketmaster precisely at 10AM to get tix for the big shows  lol.gif


Edited by Scott99, 14 February 2019 - 12:17 PM.

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#27 Jon555

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 01:20 PM

For notification I got e-mails to a couple of addresses and, quite a bit later, an actual letter.

 

Also it's an expensive scope and they went off the end of the old list with the first run, so I think it may not be that difficult to get one this year.


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#28 Paul G

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 01:44 PM

I must confess this is the one time over the last 30 years I've had angst about the AP waiting list!  I watched the website all day after this scope was announced, waiting to sign up.  At around 430 I had to go walk my dogs.  Just a few minutes after I left the house, the sign-up appeared on their website. 

 

So I didn't sign up for about 2 hours after, probably a few hundred spots lower on the list.  Makes me think they should just do a lottery of everyone that signs up the first day.  I believe some people signed a paper list at NEAF that day as well.

 

I'm OK with "early bird gets the worm" but it can get ridiculous - it almost reminds me of when I used to set up 3-4 computers to log into Ticketmaster precisely at 10AM to get tix for the big shows  lol.gif

They tried a lottery for the original f4.9 Stowaway, so many complaints they never did it again.



#29 gnowellsct

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 06:06 PM

Well all these discussions of several hundred people signing up within the first few hours of the first day, makes me wonder why they didn't close the list till Tuesday following.  I thought I had a shot, having signed up on Saturday, but perhaps I am deeply mistaken.  Not that I would be surprised.  In any case that makes it even better that I signed up for a CFF. 

 

The astro community to my mind is small, and the number of people who would sign up for a $4k 92 mm is perhaps less than one might think, even with the reputation. I would be surprised if the list were over 500.  But it would not be surprising that a large number of the people who WOULD sign up for a scope like that would be found in these fora.  

 

But here we are TALKING ABOUT THE LIST that old standby of Astro-physics discussion topics.

 

 --Greg N


Edited by gnowellsct, 14 February 2019 - 06:07 PM.


#30 LMO

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 10:10 PM

I learn that Ed Ting has posted a review of the new A-P Stowaway, and am surprised to be the first one to post a link.  Looks like a dynamite scope.  

 

Announced in post 1132 and linked in 1133   1/20/19 ( The New Stowaway is Coming thread.)

 

           

           It is a dynamite scope, I love mine! 

Thanks to both of you for mentioning Ed Ting's review.  A reference to it definitely belongs in this thread.  I should have re-cited it from the '...coming along' thread in my own recent post here.

 

In partial restitution for that omission, I'm adding a personal shout-out and thanks to Ed Ting for his long series of reviews.  To avoid criticism for wandering far off topic, I add these comments as background for his review of the new Stowaway.

 

The Ting reviews are thorough, based on detailed reports of his own observations, yet written in an easygoing, down-to-earth manner, unpretentious, and just plain fun to read.  They cover telescopes over a very broad range of price points, and, in each, Ed manages to address the key issues likely to be of concern to those considering purchases at that level.  And the reviews are very straightforward, not shying from criticism or controversy, e.g., one mentioning just the possibility of some slight undercorrected spherical aberration seen in a star test of a scope of the highest reputation:

 

'Astro-Physics Starfire 130 EDT' (updated 7/20/2000, 1/1/11) <http://www.scoperevi.../page1c.html#7>

 

Even more impressive are his gatherings of several experienced colleagues, along with their own prized telescopes, for sessions of side-by-side comparisons, discussion, and votes in shootouts that wade (always congenially) into some of the most controversial ongoing debates in the hobby:

 

'Clash of the Titans: Ultimate Refractor Comparo, The AP 155 Takes on the Takahashi FS152'' (updated 9/18/2000)' <http://www.scoperevi...com/clash.html>
'Clash of the Titans II: Takahashi's Revenge, The AP155 Takes on the Takahashi FCT150' (updated 5/7/2001) <http://www.scoperevi...om/clash2.html>
'Which is Best - Refractor, Reflector, or Catadioptric?' (12/30/2007) <http://www.scoperevi....com/best.html>

 

The resulting shootout reports are irresistible reading.

 

A list of all Ed's reviews is on his site's home page, <http://www.scopereviews.com/>, which also has a link to an alphabetical index of reviews, listed by telescope model.  A charming introduction to Ed himself, and to his style, is 'You Know You're an Equipment Freak When...' <http://www.scopereviews.com/page1c.html>.

 

Bottom Line:  If one is wondering about a particular telescope model, and Ed Ting has reviewed it, that review is highly recommended reading.  A case in point is the Stowaway 92 review relevant to the present thread.  My own thanks again to Ed, along with good wishes for his new undertaking of graduate study in literature and music at Dartmouth, announced in that same Stowaway 92 review.

 

   Larry


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#31 Spikey131

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 10:18 PM

What Larry said.

 

And I will say that Ed and his website have helped me over the past 20 years make informed decisions about astronomical equipment.  This has blessed me with may hours of meaningful enjoyment of the heavens above.

 

Thanks, Ed.



#32 Traveler

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 01:12 AM

Anybody traveleld by plane already with this new Stowaway? What were your experiences?



#33 Scott99

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 12:56 PM

Well all these discussions of several hundred people signing up within the first few hours of the first day, makes me wonder why they didn't close the list till Tuesday following.  I thought I had a shot, having signed up on Saturday, but perhaps I am deeply mistaken. 

no doubt - the Stowaway has had the highest collector premium value of any AP scope for many years now.  The demand for this scope must be through the roof!  We actually tried and failed to get TEC to make one.  

 

Myself and others anticipated the mad rush to sign up, I saw it coming a mile away.   Several of us posted to ap-ug asking to sign up before the form was posted to the website.   If you couldn't spend all day watching the website or coding some kind of auto-responder program you were SOL for this telescope.

 

Also some of our dear friends here at CN felt the need to tell everyone to be sure to sign up on the list - just after they signed up of course.   That's a huge party foul in my book!   Keep quiet for god's sake!  lol.gif   

 

the best we can hope for now is a few successful years of cranking these out like AP has done with the 130's.  that should cause them to start showing up on the used market and prices going back to equilibrium - there is not much mark-up on 130's on the used market today.  


Edited by Scott99, 15 February 2019 - 01:03 PM.

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#34 Swanny

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 02:48 PM

Part of the reason there isn't much mark up on 130s is there are other great refractors in the 130-140 range that perform at least as well.  Without a wait.  And quantity does play a part in it with the mythical wait list so I am not diminishing that.  



#35 Paul G

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 04:08 PM

Part of the reason there isn't much mark up on 130s is there are other great refractors in the 130-140 range that perform at least as well.  Without a wait.  And quantity does play a part in it with the mythical wait list so I am not diminishing that.  

Lots of other quality options at 130-ish, and lots of used AP 130's out there since they have been in continuous production for a long time. The original fast Stowaway was a single small production run, and nothing made since ticks off every box that that scope does.


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#36 Swanny

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 04:47 PM

Yes. Agree with that.

#37 jay.i

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 05:14 PM

Lots of other quality options at 130-ish, and lots of used AP 130's out there since they have been in continuous production for a long time. The original fast Stowaway was a single small production run, and nothing made since ticks off every box that that scope does.

Based on what I read about Roland's experience aspherizing the elements for the f/4.9 Stowaway, I'm not surprised no one has attempted it since!



#38 vahe

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 01:50 PM

 

'Clash of the Titans II: Takahashi's Revenge, The AP155 Takes on the Takahashi FCT150' (updated 5/7/2001) <http://www.scoperevi...om/clash2.html>

 

 

In all fairness and to put things in perspective it is worth mentioning that AP155 appeared many many years after the introduction of FCT150, the earlier Astro-Physics 6" f/8 was the FCT150's true contemporary refractor offered by AP and obviously no mach for the FCT.

.

Vahe


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#39 Paul G

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 08:43 PM

In all fairness and to put things in perspective it is worth mentioning that AP155 appeared many many years after the introduction of FCT150, the earlier Astro-Physics 6" f/8 was the FCT150's true contemporary refractor offered by AP and obviously no mach for the FCT.

.

Vahe

And in all fairness it is also worth mentioning that the AP 155 and the FCT150 were the flagship refractors of those two companies at the time Ed did his shootout, the FCT cost three times as much as the AP at that time, and the FCT had the "fluorite advantage" and still got skunked in the shootout. smile.gif


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#40 George9

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 10:01 PM

Did a Stowaway to C6 (Celestron 6" SCT) comparison tonight. Seems like a bad comparison in the sense of different types of scopes and very different costs, but in fact both are around 8 lbs and can fit under your airplane seat and run on a photo tripod, and so are candidates for a travel scope.

 

Only a 40 degree drop tonight and seeing wasn't bad. Bad light pollution plus the Moon. They were both cooled within an hour, but both were usable much earlier. The AP view did look prettier faster.

 

The AP star test was about the best star test I have seen. I find that at that very last instant before the ring becomes an Airy disk, something usually goes slightly asymmetric. Even if the Airy disk looks nice, just off focus, there is often a flaw there. For the Stowaway it was perfectly symmetric all the way to the Airy disk. And equal on the two sides of focus. The ring is slightly oval while the scope is cooling, but that goes away. (The oval stays oriented with gravity when you rotate the optical tube, so it is a tube current, not a pinched lens.)

 

The C6 had a typical commercial SCT star test for a good but not perfect specimen. The Airy disk was small but not quite symmetric. The intra and extra focus matched well though.

 

The AP view of M42 had perfect stars around it. The nebulosity was good. I could not see E or F with all the extra light around.

 

The C6 view of M42 had more bloated stars. More of the nebula showed. No E or F tonight.

 

The bright star below M42 has two faint neighbors. The C6 showed them better.

 

Both split Rigel easily.

 

Moon was great in both. About the same detail in my opinion, but I am not a frequent lunar observer.

 

I did not compare low-power views obviously because only the AP has them.

 

In daytime I looked at a distant sign. Neither could make out the words at first. After many minutes, the AP finally cracked it. Turns out the first letter was truncated at top, making the word unrecognizable, until you could see it well enough to decipher. Once it was figured out, the C6 could show it.

 

Also compared them on H-alpha with a Quark. I put an ERF on the front of the C6. The seeing was bad enough that neither was good. I could see the prominences but not the large but subtle filament or active region. I would need a better day. But the AP better match for the classic Quark with its 4.2x multiplier.

 

I was impressed with the 92mm AP for sometimes showing more than the 150mm C6. I was impressed with the C6 sometimes showing more than the 9x as expensive AP.

 

For travel, I often do want low power views, so that swings it to the AP. I guess if either I was afraid of losing the scope or if there was a particular dim DSO that I knew I would want to see, then I would bring the C6. Otherwise the AP.

 

George

 

EDIT: I will point out that the difference in nebulosity was much less than you would think from 92mm versus obstructed 150mm. I went back and forth to confirm the 150 showed a little more on M42. The high-quality optics with their contrast really did help the 92mm. But I need to compare them in a darker sky.


Edited by George9, 17 February 2019 - 07:06 AM.

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#41 Paul Hyndman

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 02:59 PM

They used to email and snail mail notify.

Yep, they still do. I got both when my name came up for the new 10" MCT (WooHoo!),  but would still like an original f 4.9 Stowaway.


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#42 JimP

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 06:35 PM

Hello Paul!! Congrats on getting notified regarding the AP 10" Maksutov!!  I have one of the originals and am certain you are going to love it.

Amazingly enough, the new AP 10" mak is so lightweight it can be carried on an AP Mach1 if I understand correctly. OK, better stop or start a new "AP 10" is on the way" thread. LOL!

 

Jim


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#43 AstroGabe

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 09:56 PM

Have they officially reached the end of the first production run?  I wonder when the next run will begin.

 

Gabe



#44 moshen

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 02:57 PM

Have they officially reached the end of the first production run?  I wonder when the next run will begin.

 

Gabe

When I spoke with them last week serial #100 (the last in this run) was part of the shipping group mine would be in, so they are done with this run. I seem to be the only one on the new list who spoke up about getting one in this run, there could be others but perhaps not on CN.


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#45 jloweva

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:48 PM

I traveled with my new Stowaway to Key West earlier this month. Was going to go up to the WSP but never bothered.  Key West will do that to you. Flew on an Embraer 175 and the Pelican Case fit easily in the overhead.  The scope is a dream.  Makes my 130GT feel like a monster.  And the stars are the most pinpoint I’ve ever seen, even compared to my 130. 


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#46 JimP

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 06:22 PM

And what did you take for a mount?

 

Jim


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#47 moshen

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 04:09 PM

My Stowaway came last week along with the 0.8x telecompressor-reducer but I've been traveling so didn't get a chance to post. It's absolutely terrific. A mini version of my 130GTX. It's been cloudy so I only got a very brief moment in my backyard in poor seeing. Even in poor conditions I could tell the optics are just superb. Star test with green filter is as good as I've seen in a scope.

 

Here are photos along with my Borg 90FL and Tak100DF. One of these will probably get sold since it's hard to justify three refractors in this aperture class.

 

Weights as shown with rings and vixen dovetail:

 

Stowaway: 8.9lbs

FC-100DF: 8.8lbs

Borg 90FL: 4.6lbs

 

The Borg is unbeatable for weight but despite similar aperture it's not an apples to apples comparison. The Borg & Tak are fluorite doublets. The Borg has a 2" Feathertouch light focuser with only 2" of travel vs a 2.5" focuser with 3.5" of travel. A doublet at F/5.6 it shows substantially more color in unfiltered star test. The Stowaway has machined baffles in the tube and the Borg is matte velvet lined.

 

The Stowaway is built like a little a tank with impeccable quality. I'll probably lessen the weight a bit for air travel. 3D printing a plastic lens cap as well as replacing the nice thumb bolts on the ring with hex screws are some easy changes.

 

I look forward to traveling to dark skies with this scope. The AP team did a wonderful job!

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Edited by moshen, 25 February 2019 - 04:14 PM.

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#48 Moondust

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 06:02 PM

Congratulations on the new Stowaway. I am also considering replacing the elegant thumb screws on my Stowaway, not only for the miniscule weight reduction but for a more simplistic look. I have already replaced the 3 large thumb screws on the focuser adapter with the proper set screws recommended by AP since I do not do imaging and I really like the simple look. The larger 92mm Stowaway lens vs 90mm on the Borg is very noticable in your photos.

 

I'm still debating with myself about the coatings on the Stowaway, they seem a bit overreflective to me even compared to the Borg and also with them being China green. I wonder if the end result is what Roland really had in mind for the new Stowaway and if he was 100% happy with the coating after getting them back from the coater or if he too was surprised? I would imagine as picky as Roland is that I am debating over this for no reason.

 

It would be interesting for a Borg 90mm fluorite vs Stowaway shootout when you get a chance. Also a side by side photo of the AP 130 GTX next to the Stowaway would be enlightening for size relevancy.

 

I am amazed how perfectly the Stowaway fits in the Pelican case from end to end. I wonder if Roland had the case measurements in mind when designing the Stowaway to have it fit so perfectly? The odds of it fitting that way by chance are too remote. Perhaps had the Pelican case been an inch longer or shorter we may have had a different scope? Just wondering, that's  all.



#49 moshen

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 08:06 PM

Congratulations on the new Stowaway. I am also considering replacing the elegant thumb screws on my Stowaway, not only for the miniscule weight reduction but for a more simplistic look. I have already replaced the 3 large thumb screws on the focuser adapter with the proper set screws recommended by AP since I do not do imaging and I really like the simple look. The larger 92mm Stowaway lens vs 90mm on the Borg is very noticable in your photos.

 

I'm still debating with myself about the coatings on the Stowaway, they seem a bit overreflective to me even compared to the Borg and also with them being China green. I wonder if the end result is what Roland really had in mind for the new Stowaway and if he was 100% happy with the coating after getting them back from the coater or if he too was surprised? I would imagine as picky as Roland is that I am debating over this for no reason.

 

It would be interesting for a Borg 90mm fluorite vs Stowaway shootout when you get a chance. Also a side by side photo of the AP 130 GTX next to the Stowaway would be enlightening for size relevancy.

 

I am amazed how perfectly the Stowaway fits in the Pelican case from end to end. I wonder if Roland had the case measurements in mind when designing the Stowaway to have it fit so perfectly? The odds of it fitting that way by chance are too remote. Perhaps had the Pelican case been an inch longer or shorter we may have had a different scope? Just wondering, that's  all.

 

Yes the Stowaway coatings are noticeably more reflective visually than the Borg coatings. I assume the Borg & Tak are both coated by Canon in Japan (Borg uses Canon for their lenses like Tak). Roland did post a spectrophotometer witness graph on the coatings in AP-UG but the graph was dated for a lens lot on 1/24/17 so I'd assume that graph was for a different lot of lenses (130GTX?) unless the Stowaway lenses actually started production back in early 2017.

 

China green color aside there are six air to glass surfaces on the Stowaway vs four for the other three refractors.

 

In any case I did put the lens under double-pass autocollimator , 475nm, 555nm and 650nm wavelength light and it's clear to me the design and execution of my lens is absolutely superb. Perfectly corrected in the middle and very little sphero-chromatism at the ends.

 

Here are some photos with the 130GTX dew shield collapsed and extended.

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Edited by moshen, 26 February 2019 - 03:35 AM.

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#50 Moondust

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 08:40 PM

I remember when I first got my AP 130 f/6 and placed it along side my AP 155 f/7 and thought how small, cute and light weight the130 seemed in comparison.  Now looking at your photos of the 130 GTX next to the Stowaway the 130 looks like a monster!!  




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