I have a 120 Equinox, FPL-53 Schott Ohara lenses. It is very close to my Tak FC100DL. I bought the 100 to see how a fluorite doublet does, and the answer is as good as a FPL-53 120mm.
What lenses does the Askar have?
“It is very close to my Tak FC100DL.” Close, but no cigar. You could say the same thing when discussing an AT, a high end Skywatcher, a WO, or any other of the better built Chinese/Tiwanese APOs in comparison to Takahashi or for that matter AP, Stellarvue, TEC, etc. (I’m leaving out Televue in this discussion solely because they seem to be concentrated more on eyepieces rather than their telescopes. I don’t doubt their quality but coming back here after a long absence, the available Televue scopes are as they were when I left. I would put Vixen in that category as well but looking at the specs of their new 90mm astrograph they still seem to be in the game.) Close but not quite, and there’s the rub.
The radical improvements in quality (optics and mechanicals) and from what I have seen, QC to avoid the stench that would quickly spread through the Net if too many dogs get out) have so narrowed the performance/quality gap that used to separate the Chinese scopes from the ‘premium’ products used to be quite large and readily apparent to even the less skilled or less fussy buyer. Today, the gap is still there, but only the most skilled and sharpest-eyed can see it. This last is rarely acknowledged but very real.
The average user on this site is older than the median age in the world today. Time does more than wound heels, it degrades your eyes as well. The performance gap that I am saying still exists has narrowed to the point that older eyes can’t see it. We may know it’s there and under the right seeing conditions we can see it, but not every time we have the chance to set up.
So if it’s close but no cigar, and we are not going to focus on optical testing (sorry about that) is a Takahashi TSA 120 worth three times an Askar 120, especially when most of us will rarely see the difference through the eyepiece? No, but that can be beside the point for a small but significant part of this hobby that value and can afford what I will call the cache of ownership above practicality. Stated another way, who said anything about need?
Nobody needs a Stellarvue or TEC 140 or 150 let alone a 185 from the same craftsmen when that same need can be satisfied by an Askar 140 or 185 with no wait and far less cost. The market has spoken on that since when I checked this morning out of curiosity the major Askar dealer was out of stock on the 140. Nobody needs to sell their firstborn nor wait a decade for an AP130 when you can get a comparable product for a fraction of the cost shipped the same day.
Why then do premium builders have backlogs? Because there are those for whom close is not enough. And this hobby should be happy they are here while being grateful that today’s refractors are close even if not the proverbial cigar.
My Phillipic for the day.
Edited by Dave Novoselsky, 13 February 2024 - 05:47 PM.