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SharpStar Askar ACL200 200-mm f/4 astrographic telephoto lens

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#1 Michael Covington

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 05:04 AM

I strongly recommend the ACL200 for wide-field astrophotography. It also has some uses for (fully manual) nature and landscape photography. The optical performance is exceptional, and the physical construction is unusually well suited for astronomical use.

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#2 B 26354

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 06:41 PM

Thanks for the great review, Michael. I got my ACL200 in mid-January of this year, and I completely concur with all of your findings. I use it on a motor-driven Orion SkyView Pro EQ, which makes for an easy setup. With my mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M1' s M-4/3rds sensor, stars are tack-sharp and perfectly round all the way into the corners. I absolutely love this lens... and will be getting an upgrade lens-collar for it, when they become available in mid July.


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#3 Chiqué

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 02:15 AM

+1 for the ACL200. :-) Haven't used it much yet, since it arrived along with bright nights here in Denmark, but it is really easy to use and also makes for a perfect option in a portable setup. I use it on an EQ3-2 with an dual axis motor and it is nice that I can polar align through the polar scope while the lens is mounted. I am looking forward to do a lot of wide field with this lens.


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#4 asanmax

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 10:26 AM

Thank you for the great review. I'm happy to see the additional filter holder. This is very important especially for those who use regular 2" light pollution or narrowband filters. Looks like the lens performs pretty well fully open which is not always the case with other lenses.


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#5 Horst Ziegler

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 09:23 AM

Thank you very much for your review. I totally agree with you, a perfect astrographic telephoto lens. Here is my setup and my firstlight (only 1 hour without darks and without flats, but platesolve, autofocus and guiding with Asiair Pro on my GEM28) I have replaced the original M69-M48 adapter with a short version to add a filter drawer for easy filter change.

 

ACL200_USB_Hub.jpg

 

GEM28.jpg

 

ACL200_Filter.jpg

 

 

IC1396_GEM28.jpg

 

https://www.astrovis.at/teleskope.php

 

Best regards

Horst


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#6 aorion314

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 03:10 PM

aorion314 here, who has this device for purchase in the US, and what is a fair price new for this lens any input would be appreciated.



#7 Michael Covington

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 05:09 PM

I keep hoping Astronomics (our sponsor) will get it, but it's in short supply.  Agena Astro sells it.  I'm not sure who else.



#8 B 26354

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 05:30 PM

I got mine from Agena Astro, in January:

 

https://agenaastro.c...ens-acl200.html

 

They're currently out of stock, but that may be because the updated version ACL200 may not yet be available. Proposed availability for purchasing the updated collar separately, is "mid-July":

 

http://www.askarlens...class1/239.html

 

Camera Concepts & Telescope Solutions apparently has them in stock, but these may not be the newer version with the updated collar.

 

https://www.cameraco...ens-acl200.html

 

Same availability from a few European sites... but again, these may be the "original" version. I would call or e-mail any potential vendor, prior to placing an order.

 

grin.gif



#9 Horst Ziegler

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Posted 04 July 2021 - 12:37 AM

You can buy the new version here

https://www.teleskop...fotografie.html


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#10 Michael Covington

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Posted 04 July 2021 - 08:46 AM

Last night I was able to pre-order the updated collar (with dovetail) from Agena.  They are out of the lens itself but expect to have the new-style collars in shortly.


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#11 aorion314

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 12:04 AM

aorion314, looks like the best option/price is to wait awhile till stocks of new product in usa, this item should well with my Canon 6da sitting on top of my Losmandy g11 and my soon to be arriving SVX140, thanks to all for the input, respectfully submitted.



#12 Foc

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 02:43 AM

Hi,

I have  the Askar ACL200 in its first version format and used it successfully with my Nikon 5600.  I do sometimes get spikes around bright stars like Antares so possibly need a stepdown ring. However a bigger issue at the moment is that I cannot seem to get focus at infinity with my recently arrived Nikon Z6 (original).

 

Has anyone else used this combination?   Is there a spacer or adjustment that helps.

 

I also find the Nikon Z6 does not seem to quite reach focus at infinity with the Redcat if someone has that instead..



#13 Horst Ziegler

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 03:52 AM

Hi,
sorry, I work with Canon.
Btw, I changed the way to work with different filters (Lpro, eXtreme). Filter drawers don‘t work well with DSLR‘s, either the nose disturbs or the opening is in a position, that I can not remove the filter. With this rotation adapter (see image above) I can easily disconnect the camera, switch the EOS part of the adapter with filter and connect the camera again. Quick and easy.

#14 Michael Covington

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 04:56 PM

Hi,

I have  the Askar ACL200 in its first version format and used it successfully with my Nikon 5600.  I do sometimes get spikes around bright stars like Antares so possibly need a stepdown ring. However a bigger issue at the moment is that I cannot seem to get focus at infinity with my recently arrived Nikon Z6 (original).

 

Has anyone else used this combination?   Is there a spacer or adjustment that helps.

 

I also find the Nikon Z6 does not seem to quite reach focus at infinity with the Redcat if someone has that instead..

Something is wrong with what you have between the lens (either Askar or Redcat) and the camera body.  What exactly are you using?  How far off is it from correct infinity focus, and in which direction?

I'm not familiar with the Z6, but I would expect that you would use a 48mm Nikon F T-ring followed by a Nikon F to Z lens adapter.  At least, that should be one way to do it.

If the failure to reach focus is slight, you might try the fine as well as coarse focus.  But since you are having problems with two lenses, I think the problem is in the adapters.



#15 Foc

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 05:40 PM

Hi Michael,

 

Yes I am using a quite thin adapter, the BAADER T-ring for Nikon Z cameras, T rings for this camera are a little hard to get here..perhaps this ring is too thin for this mirrorless camera for these lenses. The focus issue is worse for the ACL200. I will have to try in daytime to try and work out how far it is out but I know it is fine for my DSLR.  I do have another T ring coming by post so perhaps that will solve this issue.



#16 Foc

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 09:13 PM

Update on ACL200 and Nikon Z.

Not getting  close to a manual correct focus at either near or far distances using BAADER T-ring at day and autofocus is not available with the Nikon.  I had hoped to hear from someone with a Nikon Z but perhaps a wider T-ring will do the job,  I have ordered the wide Nikon Z 48mm T-ring from Telescope Adapters.



#17 Michael Covington

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 08:02 AM

Update on ACL200 and Nikon Z.

Not getting  close to a manual correct focus at either near or far distances using BAADER T-ring at day and autofocus is not available with the Nikon.  I had hoped to hear from someone with a Nikon Z but perhaps a wider T-ring will do the job,  I have ordered the wide Nikon Z 48mm T-ring from Telescope Adapters.

It's not wide vs. narrow, it's lens-to-sensor distance.  How far, in mm, is it from the back flange of the lens (before the T-threads) to the sensor in the camera?  (At least roughly.)  It should be 55 mm.

If it will not focus on anything, not even near objects, that suggests the lens is too close to the sensor. 

If this is the T-ring you are using
https://www.baader-p...-2-and-s52.html
with the 48mm insert, you are also going to need some kind of spacer to increase the lens-to-sensor distance.  I am surprised Baader does not provide that.

The reason is that mirrorless camera bodies such as the Nikon Z are much shallower than SLR camera bodies.

I regret that I am not familiar with the Nikon Z.  But we should be able to figure this out.



#18 Foc

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 12:33 AM

Hi Michael,

 

I have got a bit more info from the supplier of the T-Ring, as you may have guessed this was my first full frame mirrorless camera and while I thought a closer focus would be needed,  I did not realize the spacing differences would be so different from my apc DSLR.  It does appear there is a relevant BAADER spacer.  For those in a similar situation, having to buy an additional 48mm insert (comes with 42mm) and in addition a spacer may make this particular Nikon Z T ring an expensive option among T rings for those already invested in APC cameras but considering a Nikon Z.

 

"The Baader T-ring should give a distance of 8.3mm + the camera’s flange distance of 16mm = 24.3mm, leaving an additional 30.7mm to make up with a spacer. This M48 24-35mm Variable Adapter should allow you to reach that correct distance - https://www.testar.c...dapter-24-35mm"

 

Lockdown in the main Australian state (NSW) for importing stuff to Canberra may stop me from solving this for quite a while but when I do get remedial gear and imageable weather I will post a pic here with the Nikon Z and the ACL200 assuming no one else has done so by then.



#19 Michael Covington

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 06:31 PM

I would actually maintain that a T-ring that does not give a flange-to-sensor distance of 55 mm is not truly a T-ring -- is not following the Tamron (Tokina? one or the other) standard that gave us T-rings in the first place.  (They were a system of telephoto lenses that would fit multiple brands of SLRs in the 1960s, and of course they standardized the flange-to-film distance so that the lenses would focus the same way on all cameras.)   Of course, if it is 48mm rather than 42mm it already isn't following the standard.  But they should warn you about the depth!

Also, since this is a need that arises regularly, they should make a spacer that is exactly the right depth, rather than telling you to use an adjustable one.


Edited by Michael Covington, 14 July 2021 - 06:32 PM.


#20 andysea

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 07:34 PM

Does anyone know how this lens performs with a full frame sensor?



#21 Michael Covington

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 05:41 PM

Does anyone know how this lens performs with a full frame sensor?

In my article there is a link to some tests another person posted here on Cloudy Nights.  The answer: Quite well.



#22 Foc

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 06:16 AM

Success in a Nikon Z6 ACL200 image.

The BAADER M48 variable adapter in combination with the BAADER T ring and M48mm insert will connect and allow focus to be achieved for a Nikon Z6 ACL200 combination.

My image certainly will not sell any more units, but I said I would update when I found means in getting it to focus.   This is just an unguided manually focused test image after AstraPixel Processer from 30 minutes of cloud and moon impacted imaging on July 18 under the city skies of Canberra.  The image is just a central, roughly 25% crop portion reduced to 49% quality to get it under 500k. But I think it is enough to show this combination will focus.

 

The other seemingly lost in the mail T ring option of a wide T-Ring from Telescope adapters arrived on the 19th and I hope to try it  before too long.

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  • N104_M8_M20_Nikon_Z6_varying_cloud_short_sessn-Luminance-session_2-St.jpg

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