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Agema Optics anyone?

refractor
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#126 Alan French

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 05:14 PM

The beam of green laser would disappear in the Fluorite elements of my TEC triplets.  Could this element be Fluorite?  Whatever the reason, no scatter is GOOD!

Yes, the Agema has a fluorite element. But the lack of scatter is probably a difference that makes no difference in most situations. (Probably a concern for someone making a coronagraph.)

 

Clear skies, Alan


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#127 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 09:56 PM

No defocus pics and no Ronchi pic?

 

I'll get inside and outside Vega shots. Maybe even a focused one wink.gif

 

Also, the lunar limb. Was hopeful to do that early this week, weather uncooperative.



#128 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 11:00 PM

Ok, the focuser. Much of the delay in my order was the focuser. Eduard designed - and machined - the focuser himself. (A man of many talents it seems.)

 

The website says something to the effect of everything being done in-house (save the paint and anodizing) for end-to-end control and they appear to be serious about that.

 

As the months went by, I was asking myself why Agema did not outsource this to Moonlight or FeatherTouch so they could focus on producing more objective lenses. In the overall scheme of things, I would think that optical talent is a much more rare talent than machinist talent (no disrespect to any machinists out there).

 

The good news is that design is done, and subsequent runs should not incur that particular delay.

 

And seeing the end result, it compares very favorably to the FeatherTouch and Astro-Physics focusers I currently have. Very favorably indeed. Earlier I posted a photo of a side view, showing the Agema name plate and serial number, so I'll skip that view here, other than to say the very small knob is the focuser brake knob.

 

The bottom view shows that, and more. The most obvious feature is the "Captains Wheel". Just like Takahashi uses on the Epsilon, this locks down the focuser rotation. A short throw lock, very nice feel and positive action. Extremely secure, even with the long moment arm of my afocal NV load (2.5" extension tube, 55 Plossl, and NV device, about 11" worth). 

 

The bracket in the photo is a Lumicon GLP mount, not part of the Agema package. Moving inwards from the brake knob:

 

  • The four outside symmetrical screws attach the pinion mechanism to the body of the focuser. Presumably the pinion mechanism is reversible for southpaws.
  • The two smaller screws right edge and just off center are for attaching an electronic focuser (6-32 thread).
  • The slotted screw is a drawtube radial backlash compensator.
  • And of course, what use is a drawtube radial backlash compensator without a backlash compensator set screw? Not visible in this shot, but is on the vertical side that faces rearward.
  • According to the documentation, the last hole is for a friction regulator. This would be different from the friction knob on the top of the focuser, but I am not certain how so.

 

Note that this is a 3.4" focuser, and the 2" flange is removable to thread on the yet un-released Agema field flattener. No word on that availability. 

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Edited by Jeff Morgan, 14 June 2021 - 11:19 PM.

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#129 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 11:08 PM

Right side view of the focuser. That rotation feature is quite handy, and should prove both safer and easier than rotating the star diagonal. It will take some time to overcome decades of habit and muscle memory lol.gif

 

This view shows the Agema 6x30 finder bracket and friction knob.

 

The focuser bracket can be switched to the left side, holes pre-drilled and tapped for it.

 

I should note that I found the initial action of the focuser slightly (but not objectionably) stiff vs my A-P rack and pinion. Lana replied that the microstructure will wear and feel a bit less stiff. I do like it though.

 

 

 

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#130 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 11:17 PM

One thing that is not immediately apparent due to scale - the size of the focuser knobs. They are large.

 

This photo shows them next to a FeatherTouch 2" LW focuser. The Agema fine focus knob is larger than the FeatherTouch course focus knob.

 

And you can also see the elusive drawtube backlash compensator set screw in this photo. Factory setting seems quite good, I will not be playing with this any time soon.

 

Lana says the focuser will improve with wear in, but it is already the equal of anything I have. Smooth, easy, precise, and very secure.

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#131 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 11:42 PM

I forget to mention the travel of the focuser, and it gives me the chance to post one more gratuitous photo.

 

The back focus is 179mm fully racked in, and 54mm fully racked out (as per the documentation). About 4.9" of travel. That should prove very handy in my Night Vision and future Imaging exploits.

 

The photo shows the focuser carrying a fairly light load: 2" Baader BBHS diagonal and the TMB 40mm Paragon.

 

Bill Paolini was right, the BBHS rocks! I still have my A-P MaxBright, but use the Baader almost exclusively.

 

The Paragon is serial #32, probably from Thomas Back's first run. Perhaps it even went thru his hands? He said it exceeded the 41 Panoptic, which I never quite agreed with in my f/6 and f/7 scopes. But at half the weight of the 41 Pan, it was worth the (very) tiny demerits. In the f/8 Agema it crosses a threshold and is exceptional.

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#132 Jim Curry

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 09:23 PM

Jeff, that looks like an extremely well designed instrument.  I’ve machined 3” knobs for my AP focuses and improve the experience.  I’m looking forward to lunar and DSO reports.



#133 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 12:28 AM

Jeff, that looks like an extremely well designed instrument.  I’ve machined 3” knobs for my AP focuses and improve the experience.  I’m looking forward to lunar and DSO reports.

 

Yes, I am hoping to get some observing reports out. Weather not cooperating. Today's 500 millibar chart shows a large high pressure dome over the southwest. Forecasted to move slowly.

 

Such conditions bring heat waves (in the summer), lack of atmospheric mixing and hazy skies. Like a big lid that holds everything down. Very bad news for sky conditions.

 

Looks like the game is closed until next week at the earliest.



#134 Jim Curry

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 01:30 AM

Yes but could be steady for lunar-planetary viewing…



#135 Suavi

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 03:07 AM

It seems to be a CCBSI*. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your impressions and for the photos.

 

* Carefully Crafted Beautiful Stargazing Instrument


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#136 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 01:57 PM

There have been wildfires in the state adding to the haze condition. The high pressure dome over Arizona is forecast to shift southeast, should get some atmospheric mixing and clearing Sunday or so. I am hopeful to get observing ...

 

Just a few more photos to share.

 

1) Included is a machined aluminum knob which can be installed on the lens cover if desired.

 

2) The rings are nicely machined, and of respectable thickness. In the last couple of years I have bought two AT refractors and the rings were scary thin. You get what you pay for ... 

 

3) The knobs are highly machined aluminum with a deep blind hole for weight reduction. Likewise, the insides of the top and bottom mounting plate are milled down for weight reduction. Nice touch.

 

One other thought on the carry handle - it is an excellent feature. But imagers who prefer a guide scope over an OAG will need to get creative, get another set of rings, or remove the handle. Not shown, the plates have two rows of four 1/4-20 holes on 2" centers. Bottom plate is Losmandy D style.

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#137 CHASLX200

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 06:13 PM

It all looks super well made.  It should be a killer.




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