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

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#51 Aleko

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 11:03 PM

 

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.

 

I would think Roland designed the Stowaway (and Traveler) to fit as airline carry-on. The Pelican case chosen for the Stowaway has dimensions chosen for the same purpose. Thus the fit. 


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#52 jay.i

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 12:13 AM

Congrats, moshen. It sure is purty. Good to see more of these making their way out, with the end of run 1. I know Roland said he was working on finishing the 10" Maks that would be done by the end of spring or something like that, so we will have to live vicariously though the lucky folks here likely until early-mid summer before anyone else among us gets a crack at it.


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#53 gnowellsct

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 10:21 PM

Well my Stowaway 92 "by any other name would smell as sweet" and the name is CFF 92mm f/6.9.  As I posted earlier, when I signed up for the Stowaway I said "who am I kidding" and promptly sent a deposit to CFF.  Which was actually the advice I got from Roland back in the early 00's:  I signed up at NEAF for the GT130 and said, "Now what do I do?" And he said, "Go buy a refractor!"  So I did.  The GT 130 came 7 or 8 years later.

 

Well I actually posted that story higher up.  The news today is that CFF has finished the two f/6.9s of which mine is one, and they have pictures up on their website which let you see both it and the f/6.0.  They haven't asked for the balance due yet and it hasn't shipped yet and it isn't here in one piece yet (nothing is over till it's over).  But there are pics on the web site, so I'll share it here:

 

The f/6.0 and f/6.9 CFF 92 mm scopes!     

 

Perhaps in a couple of weeks a living room pic....

 

 

Greg N


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#54 elwaine

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 10:25 PM

Greg, I’m glad you are happy with your CFF. But in case you missed it, this thread is about the new Stowaway: not about CFF telescopes. 


Edited by elwaine, 04 March 2019 - 10:28 PM.


#55 Moondust

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:00 PM

Well since he hasn't received it yet he doesn't know if he is happy with it. His story relates well enough to the Stowaway to give some interest here so let's not stone him to death just yet. I already have my Stowaway (number 28) and understand his excitement in getting a scope very similar to a Stowaway ( and I think even more expensive) and I for one look forward to seeing some photos of the scope set up in his living room, some first impressions and maybe eventually a friendly shootout with a Stowaway.     


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#56 gnowellsct

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 11:21 PM

Well since he hasn't received it yet he doesn't know if he is happy with it. His story relates well enough to the Stowaway to give some interest here so let's not stone him to death just yet. I already have my Stowaway (number 28) and understand his excitement in getting a scope very similar to a Stowaway ( and I think even more expensive) and I for one look forward to seeing some photos of the scope set up in his living room, some first impressions and maybe eventually a friendly shootout with a Stowaway.

Thank you for reading and understanding the post. When the scope arrives I will start another thread. The relevance here is that this is just an AP customer who applied the advice given by AP's owner once upon a time for the GT130, to the Stowaway. It was good advice then, and good advice now. And that's all I have on this topic, which I rescued from page 3 where it had disappeared. The cost will be less than what I understand to be the Stowaway price, FWIW, and since there are very few top of the top 92s out there, this one is worth a look.

So we can talk a little bit about Stowaways?

I will have the opportunity to do a comparo with a Stowaway when the CFF comes because a club member has one of the original f/4.9's. But the focal lengths are so radically different that I'm not sure what that will show other than that one has a wider field and the other gets up to higher power more easily. The current CFF will have a better focuser than the *old* Stowaway, which if I remember right, was a pre-dual focus era scope. The *new* Stowaways will of course have superb contemporary focusers.

The *new* Stowaways at f/6.65 won't be far from the CFF f/6.9. My understanding is that in the early 00s there was briefly an f/7.0 Stowaway which became an f/6.60 in production. So the f/7s may be the rarest of the lot? I don't know, but the new ones are to be f/6.65 so slightly tweaked (in focal length) from the earlier 00s line. I expect the glass is varied at least a tad across models but I'm sure someone here knows more about it than me. So the f/6.9 CFF is bracketed by the f/6.6 (early '00s) and the f/7 (limited production) and is a tad longer than the current generation of f/6.65s.

There apparently is no f/6 Stowaway. I'm getting a lot of this history from Company Seven. Now, I have ordered a Stowaway but have no idea when/if my name will come up. So, such comparison as will be within grasp in this neck of the woods is between the CFF f/6.9 (still not here,and that will be a separate thread) and the f/4.9. And this sort of proves my thesis that rare scopes are common, because here we have an f/4.9 hanging with one of our club members and 'nary an f/6 or f/6.65 in sight, even though these last two are more common (and so, in practice, rare!).

It would appear that comparisons of Stowaways will encounter a fair amount of variation *among Stowaways*, for which there are four focal ratios of which I am aware. So the CFF f/6.9 is sort of in the zone but not matching any particular one. It's somewhat disappointing that there is no f/6.60 or f/6.65 Stowaway in my neighborhood because the obvious and overwhelming difference between the f/4.9 Stowaway and the CFF f/6.9 is their fields, one knows that without even looking through either. Thus one comparison which would be even more interesting than AP f/6.65 92 mm versus any other make scope is AP f/6.65 vs AP f/6.60. The Roland of the 00s versus the Roland of the 'teens. Somewhere, some enterprising individuals may be able to pull off that comparison.

GN

Edited by gnowellsct, 05 March 2019 - 07:54 AM.

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#57 Scott99

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 12:40 PM

sounds way too complicated!  There's an f/5 and an f/7 Stowaway.  The f-ratios are rounded to the nearest integer.  

 

FWIW the tube refinement is a big reason the AP's are so popular versus other scope maker's small apos.  There's only one other way to get the same quality tube as AP and that's to order a custom scope from Matthias Wirth in Europe IMO.  


Edited by Scott99, 05 March 2019 - 12:43 PM.

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#58 Axunator

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 12:53 PM

So the f/7s may be the rarest of the lot?

So does it actually make them the most common ones, as per the famous Nowell conjecture: "Rare refractors are common"? scratchhead2.gif  


Edited by Axunator, 05 March 2019 - 01:08 PM.

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#59 Paul G

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 04:02 PM

sounds way too complicated!  There's an f/5 and an f/7 Stowaway.  The f-ratios are rounded to the nearest integer.  

 

FWIW the tube refinement is a big reason the AP's are so popular versus other scope maker's small apos.  There's only one other way to get the same quality tube as AP and that's to order a custom scope from Matthias Wirth in Europe IMO.  

This. The f4.9 is referred to as f5, the f6.6 as f7.


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#60 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 05:11 PM

Yeah. There never was an f/7 Stowaway. The ones with the focuser engraved as such are actually f/6.6. They are also engraved as 90mm, but are really 92mm.


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#61 gnowellsct

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 05:37 PM

Yeah. There never was an f/7 Stowaway. The ones with the focuser engraved as such are actually f/6.6. They are also engraved as 90mm, but are really 92mm.

Well I'm willing to believe you but C7 has a different view.  Please goo down there and knock a few heads till the story is straight.

 

If we're rounding to the nearest integer then my GT 130 f/6.3 is an f/6 and my forthcoming f/6.9 CFF is really f/7?  

 

I would actually be OK with that.  Never did like all these decimals.



#62 plyscope

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 05:41 PM

Check out Ed Tings review Greg, that tells us everything we need to know about the new and old Stowaways.



#63 jay.i

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:08 PM

Check out Ed Tings review Greg, that tells us everything we need to know about the new and old Stowaways.

I don't think one person's review of anything can tell you everything you need to know about it.


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#64 Paul G

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 07:20 PM

Yeah. There never was an f/7 Stowaway. The ones with the focuser engraved as such are actually f/6.6. They are also engraved as 90mm, but are really 92mm.

 

 

Well I'm willing to believe you but C7 has a different view.  Please goo down there and knock a few heads till the story is straight.

 

If we're rounding to the nearest integer then my GT 130 f/6.3 is an f/6 and my forthcoming f/6.9 CFF is really f/7?  

 

I would actually be OK with that.  Never did like all these decimals.

Company 7 has it straight, you are still confused. :)

 

From Company 7's description of the original "f7" Stowaway:

 

"Released in July 2002 as a very limited production item the Astro-Physics 92mm f7 "Stowaway" telescope evolved from an 90mm f7 doublet concept, developed by Roland Christen through the original "Stowaway" a limited production 90mm f5 triplet Apochromat telescope in 1999, into the current 19 inch long, 6.5 lb. (3 kg) 92mm aperture 604mm f6.6 triplet Apochromat telescope."

 

Under Specifications:

 

"604mm (23.8") (actually f6.6)"


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#65 Paul G

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 07:24 PM


I will have the opportunity to do a comparo with a Stowaway when the CFF comes because a club member has one of the original f/4.9's. But the focal lengths are so radically different that I'm not sure what that will show other than that one has a wider field and the other gets up to higher power more easily. The current CFF will have a better focuser than the *old* Stowaway, which if I remember right, was a pre-dual focus era scope. The *new* Stowaways will of course have superb contemporary focusers.

Both the original f5 (f4.9) and f7 (f6.6) Stowaways have dual speed focusers.


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#66 plyscope

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 10:30 PM

I don't think one person's review of anything can tell you everything you need to know about it.

You are correct Jay. I really meant the direct comparison between the old and new versions for Gregs attention.


Edited by plyscope, 05 March 2019 - 10:35 PM.


#67 gnowellsct

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 10:44 PM

Both the original f5 (f4.9) and f7 (f6.6) Stowaways have dual speed focusers.

that's good to know, but I think the one I know is single speed.  It was/is the prototype.  I'll find out later.  I hope it is dual speed because I like dual speed and focusing a fast refractor at high power is a chore without it.   But I think it likely that *this* Stowaway is single speed.  GN



#68 gnowellsct

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 10:51 PM

Company 7 has it straight, you are still confused. smile.gif

 

From Company 7's description of the original "f7" Stowaway:

 

"Released in July 2002 as a very limited production item the Astro-Physics 92mm f7 "Stowaway" telescope evolved from an 90mm f7 doublet concept, developed by Roland Christen through the original "Stowaway" a limited production 90mm f5 triplet Apochromat telescope in 1999, into the current 19 inch long, 6.5 lb. (3 kg) 92mm aperture 604mm f6.6 triplet Apochromat telescope."

 

Under Specifications:

 

"604mm (23.8") (actually f6.6)"

OK I see what you're saying but I find it very confusingly presented.  By the by, what focal ratio (and/or focal length) is actually engraved on the lens cell?  (of the so-called f/7)



#69 Dan5209

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 11:35 PM

5B0298B5-707F-4453-B077-863D95A8E5E3.jpeg

There is no engraving (on the lens cell)  on mine. The serial number on the edge of the lens starts with 927EDF which means 92mm f7.

The focuser is engraved with 90mm f7. Marj is quoted somewhere that the extra 2mm are free or something. 

The focal length is 604mm.


Edited by Dan5209, 05 March 2019 - 11:47 PM.


#70 nicknacknock

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 05:53 AM

Well, since this thread is about first light reviews, I finally had mine about 10 days ago. Mounted the AP on a DM-4 mount and a Avalon T-Pod tripod - perhaps the most awesome combination possible in terms of matching a scope to a manual alt-az mount and tripod, a sheer joy to use.

 

Spend most of the evening with a Nagler 31mm at near 4° TFOV and 20x. The scope *drum roll please* performs like *drum roll continues* like a 92mm refractor! But like a perfect 92mm. There is really nothing much to be said. Salient points: color rendition of stars is excellent and vivid, star-test checks out fine (not that I expected otherwise), Sirius was devoid of any color, wide fields are magnificent. I did use up to a 7mm Nagler and made short work of the double star in Rigel despite very average conditions. Orion Nebula, Running Man, Christmas Tree Cluster, Thor's Helmet, M46 + M47 and friends, and various clusters over the course of nearly two hours all presented in all their splendor with more contrast that other 90mm class instruments I had in the past and in similar magnifications and exit pupils.

 

Dunno if someone expected anyone to report that they can leap over tall buildings while cradling the Stowaway, but it is what it is - an exceptional hand figured to perfection 92mm Triplet APO refractor of high pedigree. What I will say about this scope, is that it scratches raw any itch in the 90mm aperture range. You do feel that you are "done" with the search for the 90mm range holy grail. Not because of the price you pay and the expectations you have for the instrument you buy, but because it actually gives you what you expected in spades (notwithstanding leaping over tall buildings or being faster than a speeding bullet).

 

Would I be happy with an alternative scope? Sure. Would I feel the itch scratched sufficiently with an alternative scope? No. Is that enough reason to go overboard money wise and get this scope? Well, based on what I have seen through it, yes, cause it provides the views and scratched that itch raw - now healed and gone. 

 

If I did not already have the Tak FS-128, I probably would have skipped this and gone for a Tak FS-102 with a 3" FTF as my ultimate instrument. But, since I do have the FS-128, something substantially smaller with good pedigree was called for. I think I am done searching...


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#71 Paul G

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 06:56 AM

FWIW, the new Stowaway’s price is 30% lower in real dollars than the original. If indexed for inflation the new one would cost $5000 and they still would have sold out at that price.

 

As Scott99 said, it’s not just the optics, the tube is very refined compared to the original. It’s functionally elegant, the cumulative result of decades of fine tuning. Everything, even the paint used, is there for a specific functional reason.


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#72 nicknacknock

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 06:58 AM

Being from Europe, I suffered 19% Value Added Tax, 4.3% Optics Tax plus a slightly higher margin for the dealer, so for us non-US based individuals, it becomes crazy expensive real fast ;)


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#73 t.r.

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 08:28 AM

FWIW, the new Stowaway’s price is 30% lower in real dollars than the original. If indexed for inflation the new one would cost $5000 and they still would have sold out at that price.

As Scott99 said, it’s not just the optics, the tube is very refined compared to the original. It’s functionally elegant, the cumulative result of decades of fine tuning. Everything, even the paint used, is there for a specific functional reason.

I expect a price increase for the second run for that very reason. The gang on the wait list got them in yesteryears dollars compliments of RC, we can’t really expect the rest of us on the next run to get the same “discount” and $5000 is near where I predicted. We’ll see.🧐
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#74 George9

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 09:13 AM

an exceptional hand figured to perfection 

On the optics, are they actually hand-figured? I thought they were machine figured to spheric surfaces to a high degree of polish and accuracy and then hand positioned in terms of separation and rotation. Did I misunderstand?

 

 

I expect a price increase for the second run for that very reason. The gang on the wait list got them in yesteryears dollars compliments of RC, we can’t really expect the rest of us on the next run to get the same “discount” and $5000 is near where I predicted. We’ll see.

Not sure about that. They had plenty of warning how popular it would be before the price was announced. Yes, at NEAF they mentioned a slightly lower figure, and then mentioned it was costing a little more than they thought, and settled on $3500. Yes it could go up a bit, but I doubt to $5000. And $3500 seems a fair price compared to the other very high end similar scopes (e.g., Baader), quality of the focuser, etc.

 

George



#75 nicknacknock

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 09:23 AM

George,

As per Roland’s comments in the AP group, all lenses are hand figured. I have no reason to doubt him...
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