Thank you all for your input, it's been very useful (even if I now have even more potential options than before!)
I have looked at the prices of the AT and TS pair. Once you factor in overseas shipping and add VAT, I think the prices may be equivalent, or the TS even cheaper.
Yes I think you might be right. Schurke commented that it cost $124 just for shipping, and import duty was on top of that, which would certainly tip the scales in favour of the TS.
I was in the same boat and I ended up buying a Omegon 71/450 quadruplet for 700 bucks. A bit more expensive, but not so much compared to the TS+flattener or AT+flattener. Plus we are talking about a triplet + integrated flattener instead of a a doublet. Even though I have not tried it yet, it should perform better.
Here's the thread with all my thoughts about this ...
Your thread was very interesting, and I hadn't already come across it in my research, so thanks for pointing me towards it.
That is a bit more expensive, yes, but you make a very good point about not having to buy a flattener.
And it's still only two and a half kilograms.
That's given me food for thought!
I ordered the blowout sale stellarvue 102 access to switzerland. Shipping was 124 usd plus around 80 chf for swiss taxes.
Before the sale came up i had planned to get the at102 but i probably would have ended up buying the TS equivalent.
Thanks for this. I had also been looking at the SV80 Access, but eventually decided that it was a little bit bigger than what I was looking for.
$125 for shipping is quite a sizeable percentage of the total cost. Good to know and bear in mind.
Have a look at the Sharpstar offerings from 365astronomy here in the UK. My new 61EDPH is a little beauty. Stunning performance, nice optics and mechanics. Use it for visual G&G and terrestrial photography.
I saw that Sharpstar 61mm f/5.5 doublet the other day! It looks really cute!
So light as well. I suppose it wouldn't have any trouble sitting on top of a StarTracker Pro with my Altair CMOS camera in it?
Well, thanks again everyone. Looks like I have a new shortlist (longlist?) of:
Sky-Watcher Evostar 72ED ~€320
Sharpstar 61EDPH f/5.5 ~€500
WO Zenithstar 61 ~€500
TS-Optics Photoline 72mm f/6 FPL53 ~€530
WO Zenithstar 73 ~€630
Astro-Tech AT72EDII ~€420 + ~€100 (shipping) + ~€80 (duty) = ~€600
Stellarvue Access 80 ~€450 + ~€100 (shipping) + ~€80 (duty) = ~€630
Omegon Pro APO 71/450 ~€700
I probably won't be able to by it until January 2020 at the earliest now - this afternoon I went and blew my astronomy budget for next month already!
Turns out I know the guy who runs the Spanish distributor for Pentax, and he had the last Pentax SMC 8-24 zoom in the country which he wanted to sell me for half price.
I could hardly refuse, could I?!
(Ok so the real story wasn't exactly like that, specifically the "he wanted" bit, but close enough!)
I'm going to keep an eye on deals on these over the next few months, see if anything pops up around Christmas.
I'm leaning towards the less expensive end of the scale now that I've just bought the new eyepiece, so if the Sky-Watcher sale reaches these shores next month then I may just snap up an SW72ED.
That little Sharpstar, though... hmmm.....