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Shiny internals on 30mm UFF, especially Altair?

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#1 Will_S

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 10:22 AM

I finally convinced myself I could accommodate the extra size and weight of an APM 30mm UFF to improve on the edge correction of my 31mm Aspheric or 30mm Paragon, but Don was out of stock. Then I was happy to discover Land Sea & Sky selling the Altair [assumed] equvalent for $4 less and free shipping, so I gave it a shot.

 

I haven't had a chance to get it out under the stars yet but a quick inspection revealed generally pretty good fit and finish on the outside, coatings look good, and the green is more subdued (darker and less glossy) than I expected from the pictures. The filter threads accept both of the 2" filters I own smoothly and completely. The filter threads are shiny, but that's true of some other eyepieces I have, and it doesn't seem to be a big deal in practice. But looking up the bottom of the barrel reveals an additional shiny ring on the inside that has me worried.

 

I'm not sure if this is a section of bare barrel, or some sort of internal spacer or stop that is not blackened on the bottom. It does seem like its somehwat conical and narrower at the top, but maybe that's an illusion due to the intervening lenses. I'm not about to disassemble the eyepiece for a closer look because I want the option to return it if need be. 

 

Just holding the eyepiece up to the bright sky, it's not obvious that any light reflects off this ring into the field of view, but I'm hoping it will be clear enough to try out on the moon and bright stars just outside the FOV tonight. Maybe with sufficient baffling upstream this isn't the issue it might seem at first glance, but it's rather disappointing. Compared to this, the inside of my 31mm Aspheric is a black hole.

 

But then I looked this picture of an APM version (from https://www.cloudyni...-apm-30-mm-uff/) and while the ring isn't as shiny there, there's clearly some sort of brighter/more reflective internal element there too. I haven't read any complaints about it. Hmmm.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 30mmUFFshine.jpg


#2 russell23

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 10:36 AM

That looks different than my APM version.   All surfaces are blackened.  A friend has borrowed mine right now so I cannot get a picture but it doesn't look like that.



#3 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 11:08 AM

Not sure how relevant this is, but I have the 15mm Altair.

 

gallery_249298_10131_45434.jpg

 

It seems a bit shiny inside the barrel, but I've not noticed anything detrimental in use. 


Edited by Shorty Barlow, 03 July 2020 - 11:10 AM.


#4 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 11:29 AM

Here is a shot of APM 30 UFF from field lens side.

 

large.jpg

Tammy


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#5 markb

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 11:32 AM

Going way back with same-optical manufacturer  clones, or 'back door' clones, we have to remember each retail direct-order seller likely specified specific features and QC levels to make their price point.

 

Items often specified by the retailer, might include edge blackening, barrel finish and blackening, and, especially concerming, coatings.

 

I have also suspected there may be differences in quality of lens polish and rejection rate for individual elements.

 

And some clones are not optically identical designs and not actually clones.

 

Just concerns to have and address if you go that route.

 

Markus Ludes at APM, seems to get the best features on his items, and also seems to get the pick of the litter on quality control standards. At least that's been my impression in recent years, and the reason I didn't look at other sellers that carry facially identical high-ticket items. My UFFs came in boxes with a few items so I did not even bother looking at the supposed clones. I assume the Altair's are true clones for this thread.

 

The differences in price are not always significant these days, especially since Don P at eyepieces.etc stocking dealer, and APM have some sort of stocking arrangement in Pennsylvania, not sure of the details. I have paid the shipping from Germany before, and every time it's been worth it.


Edited by markb, 03 July 2020 - 11:38 AM.


#6 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 11:45 AM

Altair 15mm: https://www.altairas...steel-234-p.asp

 

89 quid (98.64 euro)

 

APM 15mm: https://www.apm-tele...sichtsfeld.html

 

119 euro (net export price 102.59 euro)

 

Not a huge price difference. 


Edited by Shorty Barlow, 03 July 2020 - 11:48 AM.


#7 Will_S

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:03 PM

Interesting points about potentially different specifications for different labels, but also the generally similar price of UFFs among APM, Altair, and Orion. FWIW, the Altair website claims "All lenses are broadband multi-coated with blackened edges" but says nothing about the barrel or spacers. And the lens edges may well be blackened, the attached shows what I think I'm seeing as the blackened versus shiny surfaces. Still if Vite/Svbony/whoever can blacken the barrel of an $8 eyepiece...

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Altair30mmUFFshineLabeled.jpg

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#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:15 PM

So edge blackening costs manufacturers a few bucks. Now we know!

Scott

#9 25585

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:19 PM

Some cosmetic difference between Altair and APM 30mm, but dimensions are the same. Neither takes a Dioptrx, TV need to make larger diameter Dioptrx.


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#10 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:35 PM

Some cosmetic difference between Altair and APM 30mm, but dimensions are the same. Neither takes a Dioptrx, TV need to make larger diameter Dioptrx.

You can put an Archaeopteryx on it?


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#11 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:39 PM

Interesting points about potentially different specifications for different labels, but also the generally similar price of UFFs among APM, Altair, and Orion. FWIW, the Altair website claims "All lenses are broadband multi-coated with blackened edges" but says nothing about the barrel or spacers. And the lens edges may well be blackened, the attached shows what I think I'm seeing as the blackened versus shiny surfaces. Still if Vite/Svbony/whoever can blacken the barrel of an $8 eyepiece...

It seems strange, if it actually does impact performance, to not blacken those surfaces. It probably doesn't affect viewing. 



#12 25585

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:41 PM

You can put an Archaeopteryx on it?

Only in ARK :D



#13 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:46 PM

Only in ARK laugh.gif

Do the unicorns know about this?



#14 25585

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:01 PM

Do the unicorns know about this?

Not yet....



#15 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:22 PM

Not yet....

Best not to tell them ...



#16 plyscope

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:34 PM

From the description it looks like the Altair version is stainless steel and the APM is aluminium. Maybe that has an implication as to which surfaces can be blackened?



#17 SteveG

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:44 PM

The stainless barrel makes no sense. It's not any more precise than a machined aluminum barrel, and twice the weight.

 

https://www.altairas...steel-238-p.asp


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#18 sg6

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:52 PM

Altair 15mm: https://www.altairas...steel-234-p.asp

 

89 quid (98.64 euro)

 

APM 15mm: https://www.apm-tele...sichtsfeld.html

 

119 euro (net export price 102.59 euro)

 

Not a huge price difference. 

Altair would have to sell at £74:17 (no VAT) not £89 so the Altair cost is closer to 81-82€. Always comes out around 20€ more and that is in effect around a  20% cost difference. Not I suggest insignificant.

 

Really and simply, no eyepiece should have shiny bits, especially on the internals. That way things cannot go wrong.


Edited by sg6, 03 July 2020 - 02:54 PM.


#19 Will_S

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:59 PM

The stainless barrel makes no sense. It's not any more precise than a machined aluminum barrel, and twice the weight.

 

My first inclination was that with this much glass, the weight of the barrel would be insignificant, but I just popped the Altair on my kitchen scale and got 671g versus a claimed 556g for the APM. Not a huge difference, but 20%...

 

Price comparisons are surely location-specific, in the U.S. they're pretty close.



#20 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 03:19 PM

Altair would have to sell at £74:17 (no VAT) not £89 so the Altair cost is closer to 81-82€. Always comes out around 20€ more and that is in effect around a  20% cost difference. Not I suggest insignificant.

 

Really and simply, no eyepiece should have shiny bits, especially on the internals. That way things cannot go wrong.

 

 

I don't buy it. That's also assuming you know the mark-up on the APM version. There are German taxes. German prices are often higher than UK prices for the same product with a different badge. Different economy, different market, different standard of living. TS Optics badged 15mm GSO SuperViews were much more expensive than these:

 

med_gallery_249298_10580_153436.jpg

 

Which is why I bought the Altair. They were also sold as Revelation by other retailers for a similar price to the Altair version. 

 

gallery_249298_10131_2840.jpg

 

Not so sure about the shiny bits. I haven't used my 15mm much but I was quite impressed. It got replaced with a 15mm DeLite though.

 

med_gallery_249298_10131_209217.jpg

 

Very nice little eyepiece though, kinda reminded me of the 19mm Panoptic in some respects.



#21 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 03:22 PM

My first inclination was that with this much glass, the weight of the barrel would be insignificant, but I just popped the Altair on my kitchen scale and got 671g versus a claimed 556g for the APM. Not a huge difference, but 20%...

 

Price comparisons are surely location-specific, in the U.S. they're pretty close.

TBH the only eyepiece weights on a forum that I've found to be accurate were Tele Vue's. Others seemed to be using faulty scales, including Baader and other prestigious makes. Compared to what I weighed them to be anyway.



#22 Starman1

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 06:10 PM

My APM 30mm has no shiny surfaces in it, even the threading on the bottom barrel.

It weighs 556 g on my gram scale.

Note: a TeleVue 2" eyepiece cap fits the top with the eyecup rolled down if you want to use it that way, and not

bother to flip the cup up and down all the time.

 

You can fix shiny filter threads with a black sharpie or a small paint brush and some flat black model paint.

That internal shiny surface is aimed down, so may not have any impact on light scatter.


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#23 25585

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 03:01 AM

The stainless barrel makes no sense. It's not any more precise than a machined aluminum barrel, and twice the weight.

 

https://www.altairas...steel-238-p.asp

Only the nose is different.



#24 Will_S

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 10:56 AM

Well, I tried the Altair 30mm out on the full moon last night. I couldn't detect any negative effect of the shiny ring. No ghosting with the moon in or out of the field, views in the center of the field were every bit as sharp and contrasty, if not more, compared to the Baader 31mm, and much more detail was preserved at the edge of the FOV in the Altair. I want to do a dark sky comparison as well, but so far so good.


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#25 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 02:16 PM

My old 31 Nagler had such a ring. I thought it was normal (if somewhat un-appetizing).

 

It was a good performer and I kept it for ten years. 


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 04 July 2020 - 02:16 PM.



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