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To buy the Askar FRA600 or not?

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#1 Matzi

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 04:18 AM

Hi all

 

A couple of months ago I did create a thread wether to go for the Askar FRA600 or the Esprit 100ED

 

But back then the conclussion was somewhat mixed.

 

Now I'm very close on hitting the buy botton on an Askar FRA600, but the pricetag on this telescope is still pretty high, with the mixed reviews it got.

I'll be buying the reducer as well, and will be imaging with a QHY268c, and a Primalucelab's Eagle4.

 

I've been looking frequently on Astrobin to see images done with it, and again, here they are pretty mixed, ranging from mediocre, to decent, to pretty good.

But there's only two pages of images, so still pretty hard to decide from this.

 

So I guess my question is, to proceed with the Askar FRA600, or to look for an alternative within the same range. But which telescope could that be?

I'm from Europe, so any US/other retailers is out the question. :)

 



#2 coinboy1

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 05:30 AM

Hello I did a topic on this early this year. This thread has all the information and lots of test shots. 

 

Overall the FRA600 was not a keeper for me. It provided round stars across the entire FOV but the Chromatic aberration was more than I wanted. Stars were also slightly soft due to the optical design of balancing off-axis aberrations and spherical aberration. 

 

Mechanically the scope was excellent, optically it was lacking. Not to say it was terrible, but not tack sharp. Anyway check out the thread.

 

FSQ106 and Esprit100ED will have sharper stars and better CA control. 


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#3 rockstarbill

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 05:46 AM

Hello I did a topic on this early this year. This thread has all the information and lots of test shots.

Overall the FRA600 was not a keeper for me. It provided round stars across the entire FOV but the Chromatic aberration was more than I wanted. Stars were also slightly soft due to the optical design of balancing off-axis aberrations and spherical aberration.

Mechanically the scope was excellent, optically it was lacking. Not to say it was terrible, but not tack sharp. Anyway check out the thread.

FSQ106 and Esprit100ED will have sharper stars and better CA control.


Your review was very helpful as I was considering the FRA scopes. I did not buy one as a result of that thread.
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#4 coinboy1

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 05:59 AM

I do wonder how the FRA600 would have performed with my Pentax 645z sensor but that ship has sailed already! 



#5 Sasho_Panov

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 07:18 AM

I am in the same dilemma as Matzi, esspecially now when new batch arrived at many EU stores.

 

After a full year of using the smaller FRA400 (with and without the dedicated reducer) I am very satisfied with its performance and have achieved few accolades (my astrobin: https://www.astrobin...ers/sasho_mk/).

 

However, reading all available threads regarding the bigger FRA600 here on cloudynights and elsewhere, I am still not sure about the purchasing.

 

Takahashi is much more expensive and I really don't like the old fashioned appearance that is not very attractive to me.

 

Clear skies to all,

 

Sasho



#6 rockstarbill

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 07:25 AM

I have a gut feeling Takahashi will release a modernized FSQ aimed at smaller pixel cameras. They already did this with the Epsilon and TOA lines. I can't imagine the FSQ will miss out on the party.
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#7 Rasfahan

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 07:41 AM

I did my first shot with the ASI2600MM on my Esprit 100ED yesterday (subs not downloaded so can not share yet): Stars instantly round to the corners without fussing with the spacing. Curvature 10%. I‘ve had no visible CA with my OSC cam before (ASI183MC). It is an optimized scope from telescope-austria, who offer collimation/optimization service for a surcharge on new Esprits.
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#8 rockstarbill

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 08:09 AM

I did my first shot with the ASI2600MM on my Esprit 100ED yesterday (subs not downloaded so can not share yet): Stars instantly round to the corners without fussing with the spacing. Curvature 10%. I‘ve had no visible CA with my OSC cam before (ASI183MC). It is an optimized scope from telescope-austria, who offer collimation/optimization service for a surcharge on new Esprits.


That's pretty cool. Congrats. Do they sell these Optimized versions to folks in the US as well?

#9 Rasfahan

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 08:23 AM

That's pretty cool. Congrats. Do they sell these Optimized versions to folks in the US as well?

I’m sure they do, you can just select that service on their web shop when ordering an Esprit. The Esprit actually was my first telescope and it is still the one which performs with the least amount of effort on my part. I’ve used the ASI2600 so far only on the mirrored scopes, and this test also confirmed that my camera sensor is square (enough for f/8).



#10 Matzi

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 11:57 AM

Hello I did a topic on this early this year. This thread has all the information and lots of test shots. 

 

Overall the FRA600 was not a keeper for me. It provided round stars across the entire FOV but the Chromatic aberration was more than I wanted. Stars were also slightly soft due to the optical design of balancing off-axis aberrations and spherical aberration. 

 

Mechanically the scope was excellent, optically it was lacking. Not to say it was terrible, but not tack sharp. Anyway check out the thread.

 

FSQ106 and Esprit100ED will have sharper stars and better CA control. 

 

Well, I think it's hard to get as great optics as the Tak FSQ series, especially considering the FRA600, cost less than half.

 

I did read your thread Coinboy1, which is why I had my doubts about buying the FRA600, and started to look for a substitute.

 

What I like about the Askar FRA600, is the fact you can image at 600mm FL, at an F. 5.6, and with the reducer at 420mm FL, at an F. 3.9.

And an imaging circle of 66mm, but I'm not sure if that improves your FoV, even with an APS-C sized sensor, compared to the 44mm the Esprit 100ED has, or if it only applies to FF cameras?

 

But the FRA600 still cost nearly 3.000 euros, which is still quite a lot of money for a refractor, so one would think that you would actually get quite a good telescope for that money.


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#11 coinboy1

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 12:59 PM

Looking at the spot diagram comparisons I made, the FRA600 + 3.9 reducer image quality improves. Some people had great results with the combo! 



#12 339kio

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 01:26 PM

I recently got my scope. Based on my experience last couple  weeks, I agree with what coniboy said.

 

It shows really nice rounded star at the edge even with my canon 6d(full frame).  however, I notice some off axis CA.

 

 

 

When the scope is compared to FSQ106, of course, you get what you paid for. FSQ106 way better and every aspect. So, i am not even gonna mention that.

 

 

Before I purchased my FRA600, I considered between Esprit 100ed and FRA600.

 

Reading his previous test thread, I was well informed between two scopes.

 

I chose FRA600 for several reason.

 

1. I personally values better star shape over CA

 

2. I am planning to use my canon 6D sometimes (especially during winter). And, FRA600 has larger image circle

 

3. I am going to use FRA600 with 0.7x pretty much all the time since I don't go out to dark sky very often, it will give me a lot of advantages in terms of exposure time. It also improves image quality a lot.

    I know people are using Riccardi or APEX reducer with Esprit 100ED, however, when i did some research on them, they don't seem provide round star shape at the corner of APS-C sensor. I am also lazy enough not to go through journey for finding optimal back focus.

 

 

So, I would say go for FRA600 only if you are planning to use it 0.7x most of times and 420mm FL is what you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

btw this is my first image with this scope.

 

https://www.astrobin...r=29946#c814905


Edited by 339kio, 22 October 2021 - 01:42 PM.


#13 Matzi

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 01:45 PM

To me it just dosen't make sense, that you HAVE to use the additional reducer in order to get better images. I think the point of this telescope is that you can use it, at it's native 600mm FL for smaller targets, and still relatively fast at f5.6, and then for small targets, you just get even more speed with the reducer.


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#14 yashob100

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 01:54 PM

I recently got my scope. Based on my experience last couple  weeks, I agree with what coniboy said.

 

It shows really nice rounded star at the edge even with my canon 6d(full frame).  however, I notice some off axis CA.

 

 

 

When the scope is compared to FSQ106, of course, you get what you paid for. FSQ106 way better and every aspect. So, i am not even gonna mention that.

 

 

Before I purchased my FRA600, I considered between Esprit 100ed and FRA600.

 

Reading his previous test thread, I was well informed between two scopes.

 

I chose FRA600 for several reason.

 

1. I personally values better star shape over CA

 

2. I am planning to use my canon 6D sometimes (especially during winter). And, FRA600 has larger image circle

 

3. I am going to use FRA600 with 0.7x pretty much all the time since I don't go out to dark sky very often, it will give me a lot of advantages in terms of exposure time. It also improves image quality a lot.

    I know people are using Riccardi or APEX reducer with Esprit 100ED, however, when i did some research on them, they don't seem provide round star shape at the corner of APS-C sensor. I am also lazy enough not to go through journey for finding optimal back focus.

 

 

So, I would say go for FRA600 only if you are planning to use it 0.7x most of times and 420mm FL is what you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

btw this is my first image with this scope.

 

https://www.astrobin...r=29946#c814905

Can you share images which show the CA?  


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#15 339kio

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 01:59 PM

Can you share images which show the CA?  

i can upload uncalibrated image when i get home.  Coniboy and other people already posted that in the previous thread as well

 

https://www.cloudyni...sions-unboxing/



#16 yashob100

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 02:07 PM

i can upload uncalibrated image when i get home.  Coniboy and other people already posted that in the previous thread as well

 

https://www.cloudyni...sions-unboxing/

Thanks. Did you research between FRA400 at native vs FRA600 w/reducer?  F5.6 vs F3.9? Similar FL.



#17 Sasho_Panov

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 02:23 PM

If this could help, yashob100, I have noticed that the stars are round on the entire field of ASI294MM sensor using the native focal length (400mm, f/5.6) than with the reducer (280mm, f/3.9) on my FRA400 scope.


Edited by Sasho_Panov, 22 October 2021 - 02:31 PM.


#18 Sasho_Panov

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 02:29 PM

I recently got my scope. Based on my experience last couple  weeks, I agree with what coniboy said.

 

It shows really nice rounded star at the edge even with my canon 6d(full frame).  however, I notice some off axis CA.

 

 

 

When the scope is compared to FSQ106, of course, you get what you paid for. FSQ106 way better and every aspect. So, i am not even gonna mention that.

 

 

Before I purchased my FRA600, I considered between Esprit 100ed and FRA600.

 

Reading his previous test thread, I was well informed between two scopes.

 

I chose FRA600 for several reason.

 

1. I personally values better star shape over CA

 

2. I am planning to use my canon 6D sometimes (especially during winter). And, FRA600 has larger image circle

 

3. I am going to use FRA600 with 0.7x pretty much all the time since I don't go out to dark sky very often, it will give me a lot of advantages in terms of exposure time. It also improves image quality a lot.

    I know people are using Riccardi or APEX reducer with Esprit 100ED, however, when i did some research on them, they don't seem provide round star shape at the corner of APS-C sensor. I am also lazy enough not to go through journey for finding optimal back focus.

 

 

So, I would say go for FRA600 only if you are planning to use it 0.7x most of times and 420mm FL is what you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

btw this is my first image with this scope.

 

https://www.astrobin...r=29946#c814905

 

Kio, your Andromeda galaxy image on AB  is amazing.

 

Considering the Esprit, There are realy too much horror stories here on CN, mainly related to pinched stars and other optical aberrations with this scope.

 

After my experience with FRA400, I am really interested in FRA600.

 

Sasho



#19 339kio

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 07:49 PM

Thanks. Did you research between FRA400 at native vs FRA600 w/reducer?  F5.6 vs F3.9? Similar FL.

Here it is.  https://drive.google...CkC?usp=sharing

 

 

The images are taken with QHY268M and Baader LRGB filter.

 

0.7x Reducer was used for this  image.

 

I set backfocus at 56mm.  (55mm is optimal backfocus for this reducer + 2mm filter thickness /3 = 55.7mm)

 

One is RGB combined stretched uncalibrated image that was taken without focus offset per filter.

 

The other is RGB combined stretched uncalibrated image that was taken with focus offset per filter.

 

without focus offset per filter
RGB without focus offset Per filter5x5
RGB without focus offset Per filter3x3
 
 
with focus offset per filter
RGB with focus offset Per filter5x5
RGB with focus offset Per filter3x3

 
60sec on each sub

Edited by 339kio, 22 October 2021 - 09:08 PM.

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#20 rockstarbill

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 09:57 PM

CA everywhere. No thanks.
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#21 coinboy1

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 07:46 AM

 

Here it is.  https://drive.google...CkC?usp=sharing

 

 

The images are taken with QHY268M and Baader LRGB filter.

 

0.7x Reducer was used for this  image.

 

I set backfocus at 56mm.  (55mm is optimal backfocus for this reducer + 2mm filter thickness /3 = 55.7mm)

 

One is RGB combined stretched uncalibrated image that was taken without focus offset per filter.

 

The other is RGB combined stretched uncalibrated image that was taken with focus offset per filter.

 

without focus offset per filter
 
 
 
 
with focus offset per filter
 

 
60sec on each sub

 

The focus offset per filter certainly helped. Your images pretty much go in line with the spot diagrams where the blue channel separates away from the centroid of the star.



#22 coinboy1

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 07:48 AM

CA everywhere. No thanks.

A little harsh but yes there is CA. That is one of the reasons it was not a keeper for me. At least it has round stars across a large image circle. I think with a full frame camera with large pixels like the Canon 6D this scope is capable, but it shows its aberrations with small pixels. I actually think it probably would have done well with my Pentax 645z medium format in its native configuration. 


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#23 syxbach

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 11:32 AM

You get what you paid for. This is what I want to say about Sharpstar

 

I think their manager really targets 400-600 mm focal-length entry-to-mid level APOs. Their scopes are not the best, but think about that, in this range, which scopes can stand out? FSQ is 2-3 times more expensive and always needs collimation and their design cannot meet current small-pixel cmos. Esprit is good, sharper and better color correction, but people complain about other things such as pinched optics as well.  With a bit of CA, round star, and a bit of soft in terms of resolution, this is what Sharpstar provides. Still so many people will choose their products. I think it is pretty fair. If you really want high-quality, pin-point star, and color free images, go for those premium APOs with 2-3 times moneygrin.gif 

 

Yuexiao 


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#24 leviathan

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 11:47 AM

FSQ is 2-3 times more expensive and always needs collimation and their design cannot meet current small-pixel cmos.

lol.giffunnypost.gif



#25 Rasfahan

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 11:49 AM

You get what you paid for. This is what I want to say about Sharpstar

 

I think their manager really targets 400-600 mm focal-length entry-to-mid level APOs. Their scopes are not the best, but think about that, in this range, which scopes can stand out? FSQ is 2-3 times more expensive and always needs collimation and their design cannot meet current small-pixel cmos. Esprit is good, sharper and better color correction, but people complain about other things such as pinched optics as well.  With a bit of CA, round star, and a bit of soft in terms of resolution, this is what Sharpstar provides. Still so many people will choose their products. I think it is pretty fair. If you really want high-quality, pin-point star, and color free images, go for those premium APOs with 2-3 times moneygrin.gif

 

Yuexiao 

Ok, please recommend me a premium refractor for a modern APS-C sensor (IMX 571), flight compatible (so 60-86mm aperture).

 

I've just got a new FSQ-85 and with the reducer the star shapes are abysmal (no CA, though). If I'm lucky I can test it without the reducer tonight but that's been really sobering considering the the reducer costs almost as much as my 61EDPH (v1, lots of CA, like above). My Esprit 100ED is quite good, but it's not flight portable. The Borgs show CA. I'ld go for CFF but their smallest refractor is 90mm, can't fit it into hand luggage. The Vixen 55FL might cut it, but that's a really small aperture and very wide field. The Redcats are hit-and-miss. 




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