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The Magic of Zen

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#1 Paul C-I

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:01 AM

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to take ownership of this scope:
240 F12.5 Mak Cass by Zen Romano. (Costruzioni Ottiche Zen)
Condition of the optics was perfect accept for the coating on the Gregory spot. However, with many parts of the coating missing it still gave a WOW Factor on its first and tester session on Luna. Also owning Intes 10” & 7” Mak newts, I could tell immediately the pedigree of the optics I was experiencing on this scope so decided it was a keeper and one to custom modify.
The Tube build is fabulous and I consider a notch up from the Intes Mak Cass’s. The primary focus mechanism is remarkable and there is ZERO image shift! The collimation is carried out by adjustable push pull screw arrangement around the edge of the rear plate. Once collimated, which is very easy with my Howie Glatter lazer and screw in ring hologram, it stays collimated
The primary mirror and meniscus was cleaned and spot on the meniscus re-coated by Terry at Vacuum Coatings Ltd, UK. I had the carbon Dew shield made by Klaus Helmerichs. It is oversized by a few mm to allow a gap around the tube thus allowing the dew shield to ventilate. I machined a series of ventilation holes at the front of the tube, behind the meniscus to increase air flow from the front, when the rear cooling fan is in operation.
I fabricated a stainless steel handle and added a pair of Baader Finder bases and a Baader 2” Quicklock visual back.
The finish is a custom mixed light grey which I favor as I do the Intes grey.
I condsider this my ‘grab & go’ choice and it rides very smooth on my counterweight modified DM6.
Had it recently on the planets and Luna and regardless of the added Atmospheric Distortion at hand, (UK observing) it exercised precise optics with identical star test images. An ADC is the next purchase! It’s very much like suddenly having my Intes 10” Made portable!!
Waiting for the colder nights and higher elevation of the Moon, in the coming months, to be knocked out! And allow me to compare both scopes side by side.
Reports to follow…..

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Edited by Paul C-I, 11 September 2019 - 08:02 AM.

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#2 Paul C-I

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:06 AM

Just to add: I will possibly replace the stainless steel handle with a longer one to extend to the rear and utilise as a boom handle to move the scope. However at present I have the DM6 boom handle that attached to the dovetail plate.

I love tinkering! :-)



#3 Don W

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 12:13 PM

Color me green with envy!!



#4 R Botero

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 02:08 AM

Excellent report and congratulations on the scope Paul! I spoke to Romano Zen some years ago about a 10” f/15 Mak and he was very upfront about it. In the end, a 10” f/20 TEC came my way and I’ve been very happy with it. We should meet it up and compare them?!
Roberto

#5 Paul C-I

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 05:43 AM

Excellent report and congratulations on the scope Paul! I spoke to Romano Zen some years ago about a 10” f/15 Mak and he was very upfront about it. In the end, a 10” f/20 TEC came my way and I’ve been very happy with it. We should meet it up and compare them?!
Roberto

Would be a pleasure to meet up and give the scopes a comparison. Im not a million mile from you!:-)



#6 stuart keenor

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 03:41 PM

I have had the pleasure of using this scope for a few weeks it is a fantastic scope superb optics and build quality ! And for that reason I now await a 12” f9 Mak Cass from Zen next week 👍
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#7 Axunator

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 01:18 AM

Is Romano Zen still building and selling complete OTAs? I got the impression from somewhere that he would consider producing only optical sets nowadays - oh well, might be internet misinformation...

His prices have been very, very reasonable for what these things are, and his optics have excellent reputation in Europe. This is a very refreshing and interesting thread!

#8 Tyson M

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 02:45 AM

Look at all these large aperture Mak Cass's in the UK!   Wow.  Very nice

 

My 8" OO carbon fibre is a handful at time, these must be on another level!  Beautiful scope and nice mods.



#9 Paul C-I

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 04:19 AM

Is Romano Zen still building and selling complete OTAs? I got the impression from somewhere that he would consider producing only optical sets nowadays - oh well, might be internet misinformation...

His prices have been very, very reasonable for what these things are, and his optics have excellent reputation in Europe. This is a very refreshing and interesting thread!

Axunmator,

Having been in contact with Romano recently I can confirm that he no longer offers a complete OTA but will produce optical sets.



#10 Axunator

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 04:32 AM

Axunmator,
Having been in contact with Romano recently I can confirm that he no longer offers a complete OTA but will produce optical sets.


Thanks for the info, Paul. A pity for us who didn’t manage to get one in time, but I can certainly understand how there may be multiple very good reasons for his decision.

#11 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 10:15 AM

The Zen’s are wonderful Maks. Here, my observing buddy Luigi and I opened a 7” f15 Zen Mak. I was so impressed with the industrial style focusing mechanism that I insisted we open it up to have a look. It amazes that companies that manufacture SCT’s don’t follow suit on this incredibly simpl

and brilliant design which has virtually no image shift. Optically, it’s absolutely wonderful. Built strong and industrial like.

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Edited by Daniel Mounsey, 14 September 2019 - 10:16 AM.

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#12 Bill Barlow

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 11:25 AM

How much does your Zen 240mm f/12.5 MAK weigh?  Looks like a fantastic scope.

 

Bill



#13 stuart keenor

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 12:11 PM

It is refreshing indeed that someone of Zens quality has decided to still make 6” to 12” Mak sets and gives people an option , he has had a few scopes tested on astro foren which all have passed with exceptional optics this is surley good news to all of us Maksutov fans

#14 Axunator

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 12:25 PM

It is refreshing indeed that someone of Zens quality has decided to still make 6” to 12” Mak sets and gives people an option , he has had a few scopes tested on astro foren which all have passed with exceptional optics this is surley good news to all of us Maksutov fans


It is definitely great that he is still producing at least optical sets - but building a well-engineered Mak-Cass OTA around them is not a small ATM feat. Certainly beyond my capabilities and tools...

#15 stuart keenor

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:54 AM

It is definitely great that he is still producing at least optical sets - but building a well-engineered Mak-Cass OTA around them is not a small ATM feat. Certainly beyond my capabilities and tools...



#16 stuart keenor

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:57 AM

It is definitely great that he is still producing at least optical sets - but building a well-engineered Mak-Cass OTA around them is not a small ATM feat. Certainly beyond my capabilities and tools...

There are a few company’s in Europe who can put these exceptional optics into a tube assembly Gemini telescopes being one ( whom i am talks with) at a reasonable price
Stuart

#17 Axunator

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:41 AM

There are a few company’s in Europe who can put these exceptional optics into a tube assembly Gemini telescopes being one ( whom i am talks with) at a reasonable price
Stuart

waytogo.gif Please report on the progress - sounds like a very cool project!



#18 Paul C-I

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 09:16 AM

How much does your Zen 240mm f/12.5 MAK weigh?  Looks like a fantastic scope.

 

Bill

Hi Bill,

 

16kg on the scales.

 

With my handle added, not such a feat to mount!


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#19 Max Lattanzi

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:32 AM

I can confirm the excellent optical and mechanical quality of the Zen Mak. Here is my custom one, towering on a high Umbrian hill, in Central Italy.

 

It has conical Astro-Sitall mirror and empowered fans. After having used it for a while on a German mount, I decided to couple it to an old C11 fork.

 

The OTA and the fork work together extremely well and the whole setup, perfectly balanced, results very handy also for terrestrial use. A true pleasure to use.

 

-- Max

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#20 Max Lattanzi

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:35 AM

Side view

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#21 Max Lattanzi

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:36 AM

Front view

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#22 Max Lattanzi

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:38 AM

And finally the control one. 

 

It's a bit dusty because we are building just 10 mt from it...

 

Cheers! 

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#23 stuart keenor

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 12:44 PM

And finally the control one.

It's a bit dusty because we are building just 10 mt from it...

Cheers!

hi lovely looking scope what size is it ?

#24 Max Lattanzi

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 01:12 PM

hi lovely looking scope what size is it ?

 

A 240mm f/12.5 Maksutov by Romano Zen.


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#25 stuart keenor

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 01:54 PM

Thanks max 👍


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